Statement from Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club on a Motion to the New York’s Highest Court to Appeal of the Appellate Division, 3rd Department, Decision on the Adirondack Park Agency’s Approval of the Adirondack Club & Resort Project

On October 23, 2014, Protect the Adirondacks, Sierra Club, and a neighboring landowner submitted a motion for leave to appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. This motion seeks permission to challenge the July 3, 2014 Appellate Division, 3rd Department, decision rejecting the legal challenge to the 2012 approval by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) of the 6,000-acre Adirondack Club & Resort (ACR) project in Tupper Lake, the largest development ever approved by the APA.

Click here to read the motion for leave to appeal.

The return date for the motion is November 10th and a decision is by the Court of Appeals expected by the end of the year or early January 2015.

Protect the Adirondacks and Sierra Club strongly disagreed with the July 3rd Appellate Court decision. The Protect the Adirondacks and Sierra Club lawsuit primarily focused on the approval by the APA of 80 “Great Camp” lots spread widely throughout lands classified as Resource Management under the APA Act. The court’s decision did not examine the failure of the APA to uphold the APA Act for development of lands classified as Resource Management. If the Appellate Court decision is upheld, it will create a ruinous precedent that will negatively impact hundreds of thousands of acres classified as Resource Management across the Adirondack Park.

Another principal objection is that the Appellate Division erred when it held that the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan of the APA Act is merely guidance to APA and is not binding on the APA, despite the plain language of the statute to the contrary. This reverses 40 years of legal practice at the APA and accords APA decision-makers with vast opportunities to issue permits with little justification.

The Appellate Division also erred when it held that APA’s reliance upon post-approval studies of adverse impacts to wetlands and wildlife, which have not yet been conducted, as grounds for approval of the project, was not arbitrary and capricious.

The Court also did not examine the APA’s reliance on materials that illegally supplemented the hearing record to make its decision. The Court also failed to examine ex parte communication issues.

At this time the ACR developers do not yet have final APA permits. Nor have they secured permits from the Department of Environmental Conservation and US Army Corps of Engineers, or necessary approval from the Office of the Attorney General.