Afternoon read: APA senior attorney Banta to retire

John Banta, at right, with APA chairwoman Lani Ulrich. (Photo: Brian Mann)

Chris Knight is reporting at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that John Banta, the Adirondack Park Agency’s senior counsel, will retire at the end of this month.

Banta isn’t widely known to the general public, but he’s been one of the most significant players in the evolution of the APA and its legal and regulatory framework since the late 1970s.  Knight lays out that narrative in the Enterprise:

Over the past 10 years, Banta has laid the legal groundwork for some of the agency’s biggest, and often most controversial, policy decisions, including restrictions on the size and height of boathouses, a mileage cap on snowmobile trails on state lands in the Park and the ban on floatplane access to Lows Lake.

He’s been counsel to the agency during its review of countless development projects in the Park, from small subdivisions to the largest project ever to come before the APA board – the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake, which won agency approval earlier this year.

The APA has won several high-profile legal and enforcement cases during Banta’s tenure, including a six-year legal battle over the Spiegel house in Lake Placid and a challenge to tighter shoreline setback restrictions enacted by the agency. The agency also lost a prominent case over farmworker housing, with Essex farmer Sandy Lewis, during Banta’s tenure.

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8 Comments on “Afternoon read: APA senior attorney Banta to retire”

  1. Paul says:

    “which won agency approval earlier this year” Won? Interesting choice of words.

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  2. Mark says:

    What is so interesting about the choice of this “words”. Won does not always mean there is some contest. Get a dictionary.

    MW: ‘to succeed in arriving at a place or a state’

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  3. Dewey says:

    Why is that interesting?

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  4. Paul says:

    Mark, thanks I have a dictionary. Just found it curious. It seems that you usually see something like “granted” when referring to a permit.

    Here is more on the definition.

    “verb (used with object)
    4. to succeed in reaching (a place, condition, etc.), especially by great effort: They won the shore through a violent storm.
    5. to get by effort, as through labor, competition, or conquest: He won his post after years of striving.
    6. to gain (a prize, fame, etc.).
    7. to be successful in (a game, battle, etc.).
    8. to make (one’s way), as by effort or ability. ”

    “Won” seems more associated with a competition rather than a permit process. But maybe it works.

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  5. dave says:

    It was a vote. Votes are often said to be won or lost.

    Not sure why you would read more into it than that. What exactly did you think was being implied or revealed?

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  6. Paul says:

    Dave, I agree with you never mind. When I first saw that I was thinking about how contentious this whole thing was (is). The term seemed to be to be saying that the developers had somehow won in a competition. Where this is really just do they follow the regs or not and get a permit. But I have changed my mind after I read these other comments. I should not have seen it strangely. Thanks for straightening me out.

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  7. Pete Klein says:

    When it comes to lawyers, it’s not how you play the game because winning is everything. Same is true for the clients they represent. Never heard of a client whose lawyer lost the case say, “Well, at least my lawyer tried. Winning isn’t everything. It’s how you play the game”
    By the way, as with all lawyers, I didn’t always agree with John but always thought he was reasonable and intelligent.
    Curious of who his replacement will be.

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  8. Dewey says:

    Why is his reteriment getting so much press? Seems like much more then other old state employees. What am I missing?

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