Motions are like light jabs by boxers at the beginning of a round when they are feeling each other out. No single punch is likely to decide the outcome of the fight. There have been several motions before. We, the state Adirondack Park Agency and the community have won most. It would be too much for anyone to think we would win every skirmish, although with the law, the equities, the community and the facts supporting the Adirondack Club and Resort and the APA's 10-to-1 decision, it may not be too much to hope for the future.
The obstructionists already lost their motion for discovery, just as they have lost community and governmental support. What they are reduced to calling a victory is a decision to allow them to appeal that loss while the main case (the Article 78 proceeding) proceeds - i.e., a chance to try again to convince the court to let them fish for evidence that may or may not show some impropriety that may or may not be legally significant. The decision doesn't grant the appeal, allow discovery or slow down the anticipated schedule of the appeal. The ex-parte communication issue was going to be before the Appellate Division either way.
The other motion was a creative attempt by the ACR proponents to prevent opposing counsel from forcing all involved (the state, the APA, the ACR, the court and the community) to suffer the consequences of one of the obstructionists' well-known tactics - i.e., unpunished delay. The obstructionists' proud victory was winning the opportunity to abuse the judicial process with the hope the ACR will not be able to survive any additional delay and the community will not get the economic opportunities they need and want. The opponents know they will not win on the merits. They know there are no environmental problems caused by the ACR. They simply hope they can game the system until the ACR goes away, and they want it to go away because they believe that will stop all future development attempts in the region.
What those who live in the region should be concerned with is not these procedural jabs. They are minor distractions. The APA decision will be upheld.
I submit that what should concern the residents and demands their attention is the consequences of the delay caused by the frivolous litigation and preservationist obstruction of the approval process.
In 2010, I wrote to the Daily Enterprise saying, "If there is no new economic development, businesses will continue to close because their customer base will continue to shrink, business people will lose their investments and security, workers will lose their jobs and savings, young people will continue to leave the area to find opportunities, others will leave because they will tire of driving hours to shop or get to work, people who try to sell their homes will not find buyers or will get prices too low to let them buy elsewhere, the schools will deteriorate, the tourist industry will die off because the service people on which it depends will be gone, more hotels will close, vacation home owners and prospective buyers will disappear because they will have no place to shop or dine, there will be no infrastructure and no labor pool, the construction industry (union and non-union) will wither, housing prices will drop, and the need for government assistance will increase but tax revenues will decrease. The communities of the Park will be in an economic death spiral."
Every day of obstruction drags the Park communities deeper into that spiral and confirms what I wrote in 2010. Look around Tupper Lake. Read the APRAP (Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project) study. Consider the condition of the schools and your and your friends' businesses and family finances. Ask yourselves what justification there is for the consequences of the vicious games the preservationists play. Then do something about it.
At the least, Park residents need to coalesce with their elected officials, government leaders, regional economic development groups, business leaders and organizations, and any environmental groups that truly appreciate the balance between environmental protection and socio-economic vitality, to see that the best interests of the Adirondack Park, as a whole, are achieved and not just the selfish interests of a few so-called preservationists.
Michael D. Foxman lives in Elverson, Pa., is head of Preserve Associates LLC and is the lead developer of the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake.