APA needs to explain decision on fragile wetlands

To the editor:

I have always appreciated that the state Adirondack Park Agency has difficult decisions to make and that any decision they make will upset somebody. I have also appreciated that the APA regulations, though not always popular, have done much to balance protection of the environment with development in the Adirondacks. However, the decision regarding lot 9 in the Deerwood subdivision on Upper Saranac Lake to allow a permit to build a septic system within 100 feet of a stream that empties into a rare category 1 wetland is beyond comprehension, especially since all the other land owners in that subdivision had to locate their septic systems away from the lake and the owners of lot 9 have the ability to do the same.

The APA permit 87-74 outlines the restrictions and conditions of the Deerwood development and restricts an on-site septic system to protect the wetlands, but the APA has decided to make an unprecedented reversal of this permit for the owner of lot 9. The permit also granted the right to build a boardwalk through the wetland when the previous owner was required to remove a boardwalk that they had constructed.

The review of this permit appears to have been expedited through the APA and dozens of letters from environmentalists, engineers and home owners against the granting of the permit were ignored. There were no letters in favor of the project. I wonder if the APA can explain why it went against its own regulations to protect this fragile wetland.

There appears to be a double standard for the new owner of lot 9 and a disregard for the protection of this important ecosystem. This sets a horrible precedent and endangers the wetlands that many people have worked diligently to protect including the APA of the past. It appears this decision has gone a long way to erode the reputation and integrity of the APA.

One cannot help but consider that there is something going on behind the scenes and I hope that the leaders of the APA will reconsider this decision. It would be very sad if politics, money and/or favoritism has priority over doing the right thing which would to be for the owners of lot 9 to abide by the original permit 87-74, as everyone else has in the Deerwood subdivision.

Cheryl Joyce

Saranac Lake


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