Phil Brown in the Adirondack Explorer magazine looks in-depth this month at the big question of whether current Adirondack Park Agency rules do enough to protect privately owned backcountry and timberland inside the blue line.
His research found that even with current zoning rules and conservation easements, tens of thousands of additional homes could still be built on lands designated for “rural use” or “resource management.”
That full build-out potential makes a lot of environmentalists nervous, as you can imagine.
Brown also found surprisingly broad consensus that it would be a good idea to transfer more of those development rights away from the deep backcountry, concentrating new home construction instead closer to existing hamlets.
Local leaders and environmentalists “favor the use of transferable development rights to steer growth away from timberlands,” Brown reported.
The idea is that more open space would be protected, both for habitat and for use by the timber industry.
“TDRs are going to be part of the conversation on how we protect the backcountry,” [Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages president] Brian Towers told Brown.
State Senator Betty Little has already sponsored legislation that would create a mechanism for transferring development rights between private parcels in the Park.
Green groups supported the idea in concept, but opposed the bill because of some particular objections. It passed the state Senate but died in the Assembly.
So what do you think? Is there still lee-way to develop too many homes in the Adirondack Park? And should more of that development be encouraged closer to already developed areas?