Morning Read: A better way to protect the Adirondack Park’s private open space?

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?

And be sure to check out my interview with Brown about his article.

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50 Responses to “Morning Read: A better way to protect the Adirondack Park’s private open space?”

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  1. Peter Hahn says:

    I like the idea of transferring development rights to the already-developed areas, but I have no idea what “too many homes in the Adirondack Park” means or what the optimum would be. What do people base that number on?

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  2. mervel says:

    Seems kind of straightforward. We have spoken continually about the need for more development and economic activity in the villages of the Park, and at the same time the need to really protect the back country.

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  3. Will Doolittle says:

    Isn’t it a bit of a waste of time to talk about hypothetical situations that could happen if things were completely different? You could have 100,000 people looking for new homes next month in Glens Falls, and what would the city do then? Who knows? The chances of that happening are so slim it’s not worth talking about. Same with the notion of “full build-out” in the Adirondack Park.

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  4. Pete Klein says:

    The idea of “transferable development rights to steer growth away from timberlands” is a great idea that should be pursued if for no other reason than practicality.
    How so?
    Practically speaking, the “backcountry” would be very expensive to develop. Decent roads that are useable year round , sewer and water would be much more expensive to provide than in and around the current hamlets. Let’s not forget the cost to provide fire and ambulance service into the backcountry. Simply put, developing the backcountry just isn’t practical and would cost way too much.

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  5. Lily says:

    To Doolittle – this is what is known as PLANNING.

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  6. Will Doolittle says:

    Planning is something you do in anticipation of events that have a good chance of happening. I’m planning for my teenagers’ college years. I am not planning what to do if I have six more kids.

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  7. myown says:

    As Pete points out developing the backcountry should be discouraged because of its costs and impracticality. However, due to lack of adequate land use controls and zoning in some rural/remote areas poorly thought out development does happen. And the costs to the municipality for servicing a remote development with snow plowing, road maintenance, police and fire, etc. often exceeds the new property taxes. As a result, existing property owners often wind up subsidizing costs of new development.

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  8. Brian Mann says:

    Will –

    I guess it goes without saying that I disagree or I wouldn’t have interviewed Phil Brown with such interest, or found so much that’s valuable in his reporting.

    In the time frame that the Adirondack Park is designed to exist, taking the long view isn’t hippy-talk — it’s essential.

    We Adirondackers currently live very much within the decision-framework of people living in the late 1800s.

    People in the 2200s will be living very much within the decision-framework of people living in 2012.

    So it makes sense to think about what that means…

    –Brian, NCPR

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  9. Fred says:

    If the APA aaproval of the ACR is any indication of how they will operate in the future then we definitely need a better mechanism to protect the backcountry.

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  10. dave says:

    To me, the problem of development expansion is not always one that is tied to population. In my town, at any given moment you can find a dozen or more current homes for sale… and a dozen or more new homes and lots being developed. In other words, the development is taking place even though there are currently more homes in the town than there are people to live in them.

    So to Will’s point, addressing how and where development happens seems to be something we need to consider even if the population does not someday begin to support it. Because developers are going to build anyway.

    That said, I still can’t help but see the contradiction, Brian, between thinking about this and your recent reporting about humans being an endangered species in the park. If Adirondack communities are really crashing to the degree you believe they are, worrying about where to build their houses seems like a wasted mental effort.

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  11. Will Doolittle says:

    Brian, I do think it is frequently a waste of time to plan for long-term what-if unlikely scenarios, when you have no idea what will happen or what won’t. If you’re going to spend time planning for “full build-out” of the Adirondack backcountry, why not spend time planning for complete depopulation of the Adirondack Park. It’s possible, although not likely. It seems to me a much better use of time to consider likely scenarios and plan for those. By the way, I do think the TDR’s are a good way to encourage development, essentially exchanging development rights no one is likely to use for rights that can be put to use.

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  12. Peter Hahn says:

    Zoning and planning are always good concepts. There is such a thing as poor planning and poor zoning, but especially in the Adirondacks, planning/zoning makes a lot of sense. Thats really what the APA is for. Zoning people out of the back county makes a lot of sense, and trading development rights is a good way to do that relatively painlessly. There are population shifts over time. Depopulating areas is a different problem that also needs to be addressed, but its probably not addressable by tweaking the zoning.

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  13. Brian Mann says:

    Will –

    You generally plan to bring about the things you want and avoid the things you don’t want.

    So…if anyone out there wants to try to organize a planning effort to depopulate the Adirondacks, they’re certainly welcome to try.

    I think they’d find, not just disinterest, but active opposition.

    On the other hand, the effort to plan for a proper balance of healthy communities and protected ecosystems seems logical and people living in the Park spend a huge amount of time working on that exact project.

    One other point: The state, local and Federal regulations that govern the Park already constitute planning.

    This isn’t pie-in-the-sky abstraction. This is happening right now.

    When someone is told they can only build so many houses on a certain piece of land…that’s the productive of A Plan.

    It’s called called the Adirondack Park Private Land Use and Development Plan.

    And it’s already been in effect for a significant percentage of the period that Phil Brown is looking at.

    He’s talking a couple hundred years — and the APPLUD has been in effect for forty years.

    Finally, I’ll note that one of the things the Post Star has often done is ask pointedly, “Is this the right form of planning? Is it fair? Is it effective? Does it do what everyone said it would do? Are there unintended consequences? Could it be better?”

    I think this series of stories will ask many of those same questions.

    –Brian, NCPR

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  14. Will Doolittle says:

    We seem to be talking on two different tracks (at least), one of my pet peeves with Internet discussions. People don’t respond to what the others have actually said, but make the points they want to make, nonresponsively. I was responding specifically to this in your post, Brian:
    “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.”
    And my point was that positing something that is extremely unlikely — full build out of the Adirondack backcountry — and then basing a planning effort on that remote possibility, seems to me a waste of time.
    Your comment about organizing an effort to depopulate the Adirondacks doesn’t follow at all. I mentioned that as something that is unlikely. It doesn’t match your usual even-handedness to imply I was advocating for that, or suggesting that anyone was, or would. I wasn’t.
    I believe I’m following what The Post-Star has often done, in advocating for planning that makes sense, and is based on realistic projections of future development.

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  15. mervel says:

    But I think that what is realistic in the next 20 years may not be as realistic over the next 150 years. 150 years should be the more appropriate planning horizon for the Adirondacks. As Brian pointed out we are living with the planning done in the late 1800′s, but lets face it, the Adirondacks would not exist as it does today without the long term vision of those guys.

    So who knows what will happen 100 years from now in the world of home development and population growth? Logistically it is possible to build almost anywhere, I mean its not safe or sound, but drive around the front range or California and you see homes built into the side of mountains and on cliffs.

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  16. Will Doolittle says:

    Mervel,
    It’s absurd to be coming up with zoning plans based on a vision of what might be going on 150 years out. Any such vision is pure fantasy.

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  17. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Planning to be done effectively must account for a best guess projection in the long term, realizing that along the way course adjustments will have to be made, and lots of short term corrections for current situations.

    I am convinced that people in 150 years will look back and thank all the intervening generations for the wisdom we have shown in maintaining a viable wilderness park. To all those future people I say, “you’re welcome, enjoy!”

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  18. Lily says:

    Whether Mr. Doolittle likes it or not, (and if he doesn’t like the conversation on this or any other blog he is free to sign off) I am going to make another point which may or may not be directly responsive to his posts. I am a year-round resident of the Park with family roots here going back 150 years. And I am in full support of regional and local land use planning and regulation in the Adirondack Park. Mr. Doolittle is a downstate media professional, an out of Park resident who has been actively, persistently meddling in concerns of Park residents for far too long. Please stop lecturing to us and focus on issues affecting your own neighborhood. Thank you.

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  19. Larry says:

    Will,
    Long range planning is sometimes called vision. Without it the Adirondack Park wouldn’t exist. There’s nothing absurd about looking forward.

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  20. Pete Klein says:

    I’m going to side with Will on this one. Planning for what may or may not happen in 150 years is basically a parlor game.
    Planning for 5, 10 or even 20 years makes sense but only with the realization those plans might be scraped within the planning period. It’s good to set reasonable goals within a reasonable time period.
    What was envisioned 150 years ago or even back in the early 70′s when the APA was created is not what is now on the ground. The vision was good and the planning was good but needs to be tweaked because things change.
    Such has it ever been and such will it ever be.
    I have always said and continue to maintain that the greatest protector of the Adirondacks is the Adirondacks, its climate and its topography. I happen to like its climate and topography but most don’t.

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  21. Jon says:

    Lily,
    Not that it really matters, but Will is from Saranac Lake.
    – Jon Alexander, Post-Star

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  22. Jon says:

    Another thing: I think his point has obvious merit.
    150 years ago, the Civil War was raging, slavery still existed and balloons were the best flying machine man could muster.
    All Will is arguing here, is that there could be so much change over that kind of time period that trying to predict it is at best a best left for the SciFy network.
    Who knows, the U.S. could be a cluster of different city-states by that point and the Adirondacks may not even exist at all.
    You can call me crazy, but I bet no one saw the atomic bomb coming in 1862.
    The way people live, the way humans interact and breed could, and probably will, be entirely different in the 22nd or 23rd centuries. I can’t predict the next seminal point in human evolution, but neither can anyone else.

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  23. Pete Klein says:

    Jon,
    Hope to see you in LL on Wednesday.

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  24. mervel says:

    Certainly we can’t predict 150 years out what we will happen as a country, demographics etc. However, the citizens of NYS who are the true owners of the Park; can have a vision right now for what the Park should look like 150 years from now, start there.

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  25. Walker says:

    When you’re talking about preservation of wilderness, a very long time line is exactly what you want to be looking at. If memory serves, we’ve been adding something like a thousand homes to the park each year– not that much, it would seem, in a six million acre park. But if that continues unchecked for fifty years that’s 50,000 new homes, which is quite another matter.

    Without true, long range planning, we will lose our wilderness to the classic death by a thousand cuts. We must take a long range approach.

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  26. LuvsAdk says:

    Perhaps a definition of “planning” is in order. The basic point is: Do you want to shape events or be shaped by events? From Wikipedia:

    Planning (also called forethought) in organizations and public policy is both the organizational process of creating and maintaining a plan; and the psychological process of thinking about the activities required to create a desired goal on some scale. As such, it is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior. This thought process is essential to the creation and refinement of a plan, or integration of it with other plans, that is, it combines forecasting of developments with the preparation of scenarios of how to react to them. An important, albeit often ignored aspect of planning, is the relationship it holds with forecasting. Forecasting can be described as predicting what the future will look like, whereas planning predicts what the future should look like.
    The term is also used for describing the formal procedures used in such an endeavor, such as the creation of documents, diagrams, or meetings to discuss the important issues to be addressed, the objectives to be met, and the strategy to be followed. Beyond this, planning has a different meaning depending on the political or economic context in which it is used.
    Two attitudes to planning need to be held in tension: on the one hand we need to be prepared for what may lie ahead, which may mean contingencies and flexible processes. On the other hand, our future is shaped by consequences of our own planning and actions.”

    My opinion is that we need to plan on an ongoing basis and adjust our policies in a manner that maximizes the protection of this magnificent asset, The Adirondack Park. Good start Phil!

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  27. No, It Doesn't Matter says:

    Jon says “Not that it really matters, but Will is from Saranac Lake.”

    No, it doesn’t matter, but perhaps you will recall what Will Doolittle himself thinks about locals:

    “I would never move back into the Park with my kids, because of the remoteness, the ignorance, the narrowness, the North Country redneck culture that still thrives there. I would go back as a second home-owner and perhaps as a retiree.”

    Those are his words. Lily is right. We’ve had enough of Mr. Doolittle and his ilk.

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  28. Bill O says:

    In a different life, I was a the senior planning executive for a division of what was then the third largest company in the world. It didn’t get that way without planning. However, the long range strategic plan, updated every year, was for five (5) years. As professional planners we knew:

    1. That any plan would never be as good as it was on the day it was published, and
    2. The most important element of any long range planning effort was the flexibility to adjust to the ever-changing, unpredictable world we live in.

    A 150 year plan for anything would be either an interesting exercise or a tactic to advance a present day agenda.

    As an aside, would someone define the term “backcountry.” I’ve heard it used over the years, depending upon the issue of the day, to describe nearly every square foot of the Adirondacks.

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  29. Nature says:

    Interesting debate. I can see both sides of the argument, and have sympathy for both sides as well.

    It does seem likely that the human population will continue to grow. As that happens there will be a greater demand for housing, resources, recreation, etc. These demands will place a greater burden of use (exploitation?) on Adirondack lands as well as most other lands. A better protected Adirondack park could serve future generations as a recreation oasis, and/or source of timber.

    A problem I see with locking the park up tighter is the erosion of private land value. The less you can do with your land, the less it is worth. The only entity that can afford such land is the government, and those lucky/wealthy individuals who already have their slice of the “backcountry” (I personally have a hard time calling most of these lands “backcountry”). This scenario may seem just fine to some folks, but it will be hard for government to justify holding more and more land unless our economy starts roaring again. I don’t see this happening until we start making our own socks, underwear, tools, appliances, etc. again. When will this happen?

    A TDR compensates the current owner, but it seems like a one shot deal. Once the development right is gone, who will want the land? Unless its growing some high value timber then most people won’t be able to afford the taxes on it.

    I think it is honorable to try preserve the Adirondacks as a gift to some distopian future. But I think it is only fair to be honest about exactly what it will cost our current (and subsequent generations). Get all the facts on the table and put it up for a referendum vote. Lets stop these endless “Adirondack Wars” and get it over with.

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  30. mervel says:

    But it makes sense now.

    The villages are struggling now, why not direct most new development toward already established population centers and look at the removal of development outside of those areas? The best long term plan for any wilderness area is to concentrate population not disperse it.

    There will always be pressure to develop land, particularly beautiful unique land, this force will always be there, it is a natural force but it means that the Adirondack “wars” will never end, as it will always be a natural tension between development and protection and thus constant vigilance must be maintained.

    There will never be a getting on with things as the economic pressure to develop the Park will never really end.

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  31. Brian Mann says:

    Bill O –

    I think your point goes right to the heart of some of the disconnect int his debate. 150 year planning would make zero sense for a company, or for a small local government, or for a family.

    It would be, as Will has suggested, nonsensical.

    But there are things that don’t operate on this time-scale.

    We have, for example, a Constitution that’s designed to establish long-term principles for our democratic society.

    That’s a form of planning. And it’s meant to endure, and to be fairly hard to amend.

    Yes, we make changes, and course corrections, but it helps to have some basic principles established.

    It informs us even when we’re making changes. We’re forced to ask What are we giving up? What are we gaining? What did people in the past think about where we were/are going?

    Similarly, when people are talking about environmental conservation at the landscape scale, it’s not always possible to think on the same timescale that would inform, say, IBM or Citigroup.

    And without a clear set of plans (or principles) it’s difficult to know what environmental values people are willing to invest in long-term.

    So…in the Park we have the constitutional protection which has existed since the late 1800s. That’s more than a century of planning already in place.

    Without that planning, what would the Park look like now? Very different indeed, I suspect.

    –Brian, NCPR

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  32. Walker says:

    “The less you can do with your land, the less it is worth.”

    Au contraire, it is precisely the fact that housing developments of 10,000 homes have been kept out of the Park that has made existing properties worth more than similar properties outside the park.

    “I personally have a hard time calling most of these lands ‘backcountry.’”

    At least nine people have disappeared without a trace since 1971, despite massive ground searches. In the case of Douglass Legg, “More than 600 searchers, both professional and volunteered, combed miles of woods for 6 weeks. Helicopters and U.S. Air Force planes equipped with infrared equipment to seek body heat were used as well.” NY State Missing Persons

    “A 150 year plan for anything would be either an interesting exercise or a tactic to advance a present day agenda.”

    A five-year plan for a football game would be foolishly long. And if you’re planning to dispose of nuclear waste, a five-year plan would be foolishly short. Not all entities are like businesses (something businessmen are all too prone to forget).

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  33. mervel says:

    Many if not all of the truly important unique places that we have today in the lower 48; the Everglades, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and so forth; would likely be paved over, subdivided and developed if it hadn’t been for planning done over 100 years ago. So you CAN plan for hundreds of years we have the results.

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  34. mervel says:

    We can always make more houses and camps and cabins, we can never make another Adirondacks.

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  35. Walker says:

    Mervel, I was just thinking the same thing. A business screws up, it goes bankrupt, it gets taken over, everything ends up business as usual. Hey, if it’s big enough, it even gets bailed out by us taxpayers.

    But if we screw up the Park, that’s it. All those houses in the ACR, they’re here to stay– there’s no going back.

    I’m not saying the ACR was a mistake. I really don’t know. But one thing is pretty clear, and that is that the approval process was not all it might have been. And I don’t think we want to see a whole lot more ACRs in the park.

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  36. nature says:

    Walker,

    In response to:

    “Au contraire, it is precisely the fact that housing developments of 10,000 homes have been kept out of the Park that has made existing properties worth more than similar properties outside the park.”

    It hasn’t made properties with all of the development rights removed more valuable. Also, there are many properties similar to mine (acreage, square feet, location) outside the park that are worth more. Especially in areas that are more developed. Go figure.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti park, or anti conservation. I just think that we have reached an acceptable (to me) level of regulation. If we are going to be further regulated, lets just get it over with and have a government buyout of any undeveloped lands. There can also be a voluntary sell off of developed lands that can be “rewilded” (another term I have a hard time with).

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  37. Walker says:

    “It hasn’t made properties with all of the development rights removed more valuable.”

    True enough, though selling your development rights is likely to make your neighbor’s land more valuable. I would assume though that when you sell development rights, you figure that your return on the cash you receive, plus the break on your taxes, will balance the loss of value in the land. If not, why would you sell?

    And yes, people do seem to want to be either where everybody else is, or where nobody else is.

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  38. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Sometimes it seems as if Americans are congenitally short-sighted. You can see how it happened. We had this whole continent that hadn’t been exploited to plunder and we didn’t have the structured society to hold us in our place. Like John Deere, if we screwed up in Vermont we could move to the mid-West and start anew.

    An Englishman once said that the difference between British and Americans is that a Brit thinks that 100 miles is a long distance and an American thinks that 100 years is a long time.

    I had a grandmother who was born before the turn of the 20th Century and I could have grandchildren who see the turn of the 22nd century. A 5 year plan doesn’t seem adequate when I think in those terms.

    I know a Seneca guy who assures me that many Indians actually take the 7 generations thing seriously — you know, you should consider the repercussions of any decision might make on the 7th generation out. That’s sure more than 150 years.

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  39. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    It is useful to remember why the Adirondack Park was created in the first place and how it was possible to accomplish it.

    In a nutshell, in the mid-1800′s the Adirondacks were some of the last wilderness in the nation. Most of the more accessible forests had already been cut and the lumber barons moved into the ADKs buying up tens of thousands of acres of land and setting up 5 year plans to cut it all which they did with frightening efficiency. There were exceptions such as the Finch Pruyn which incorporated a sustainable harvesting program that kept the paper mill supplied with pulp for over a hundred years. But many others stripped their properties of the quick wealth they could gain in lumber and let the property go back to the State for un-paid taxes. The State found itself owner of hundreds of thousands of acres of virtually worthless land — in fact worse than worthless, these lands were prone to fire in the summer and flooding in the spring. Mud washed into trout streams and killed the fish during spring run-off; then, without the forests to hold moisture the streams dried up in the summer which led to problems supplying water to the canal systems that made New York the Empire State.

    With all of that in mind, a handful of visionary men conceived a new thing, a wilderness park which would sustain the people of our state by providing necessary forests for wildlife, protection against fire, securing water supplies to the canal system as well as the NY City water supply, and to provide a place for wilderness experience to nourish the soul of an increasingly prosperous middle-class developing in New York’s cities.

    The people of the Adirondacks at the time were, for the most part, living in squalor on the frontier. All but the poorest Blue Line residents today are far more prosperous than the average resident at the time. The residents of the Park will never pay enough in taxes to make up for the services they receive from the state that make it possible to live an ordinary existence here, never-mind the luxury of planning anything more than putting up enough food to last the winter. Though there’s always plenty of bark to eat.

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  40. don dew says:

    Brian, Could you be more specific on what Green Group had the particular objections to the proposed TDR legislation and what those objections were. Thanks.

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  41. don dew says:

    sb which Green Group

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  42. Lily says:

    A couple of folks have raised questions about the use of the term “backcountry” in the Explorer article and whether the lands in Resource Management and Rural Use are actually backcountry. A look at the Park Plan Map shows that while there are vast areas classified as Resource are properly characterized as backcountry (far from public roads, very large undeveloped and inaccessible tracts, often bounded by Forest Preserve lands), there are also many parcels that are smaller (hundreds, not thousands of acres) working farms, sparsely developed and accessible by public roads. Lands in Rural Use lands that truly have the characteristics of backcountry are rare, indeed. The Explorer article is otherwise excellent, (and obviously thought-provoking) but I find that when claims don’t ring true, the power of the argument is diminished.

    Another point is that while the APA Act lists primary and secondary uses in each land use classification, there is no difference in approval criteria on that basis. It is only when an activity is UNLISTED does the Act require additional scrutiny – not a variance (like is often required in Town zoning plans) – just additional focus on issues of compatibility of the use in that location.

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  43. Will Doolittle says:

    Lilly, If you’re going to exclude anyone who doesn’t live full-time in the Adirondacks from land-use debates, you are going to eviscerate a lot of environmental organizations, and take away one of the movement’s talking points, which is that the Adirondack Park belongs to all New Yorkers.
    And “Doesn’t Matter,” I apologized for the redneck remark immediately after I made it, which I’m sure you know, since the apology was posted within minutes of the original post. I do sometimes say things I think better of and regret. One thing I don’t do is take shots at people under cover of a pseudonym.

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  44. mervel says:

    Will has a good point, you have to include the owners of the property in land use debates, in the Adirondacks that means people who don’t live year around in the area. I am sensitive to property value considerations and to basic fairness. If you bought property under one rule and the price of that property was dependent on one type of zoning, I can imagine you would be very concerned about changes to that zoning.

    Personally I think buying property in a unique environment such as the Park which already has quite substantial regulation and restrictions, you should probably realize that you always going to have issues with new development on your land.

    But more restrictive zoning reduces the supply of housing in these areas, when you reduce the supply of housing prices go up. The Adirondacks will always be a popular place to buy a home because of the preservation planning, not in spite of that planning.

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  45. Paul says:

    The solution to this problem is to use the time we have to come up with the local land use plans that some here point out are missing is some areas of the park.

    Look at the recent issue involving the two boathouses built in LP without town permits (despite the fact that they are APA compliant). It looks likely that those structures will be torn down. So good local land use planning and zoning can be stronger and more effective than state wide zoning.

    As far as “full build out”… Didn’t the APA regulations as drafted in the 1970′s (way back when) contemplate that structures could be built according to the regulations. So I think all we are looking at now is that some folks now think we were allowing too much development at the time the rules were drafted. Now they seem surprised that it is possible (even if somewhat remote) that it might actually come to pass???

    Also, you don’t need infrastructure to build in the more remote areas on RM lands or anywhere else. There have been places built out there for as long as we have been around. Now with off-grid technology you can live very comfortably very far from the neighbors.

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  46. Paul says:

    Also, I have spent the past 40 years or so on and around private land in the Adirondacks that has far fewer restrictions as far as zoning that RM or Rural Use land and it is not getting “built out” (there has been some minor (quite well done) development).

    The groups discussing these possible changes should be more honest about the debate. Groups (like the Adirondack Council) that at one point supported some development on RM lands (that approved of the zoning in the APA act as it was written and legislated) now do not support development on these lands.

    “A better way to protect the Adirondack Park’s private open space?”

    They feel the best way to protect open space on private land is to protect it the same way that we protect open space on public land… By not allowing any development.

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  47. Paul says:

    A good timber company should have plans that reach out at least 50 years if not 80.

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  48. Pete Klein says:

    Words, words and more words.
    To talk practically about TDR, we need to point out that a house is not a home.
    We have plenty of houses in the Adirondacks but not enough homes.
    Homes are for people who live and work here. These we need.
    But these “camps,” be they on lakefront or in the backcountry, these we have tons of.
    We could probably provide homes for most of the homeless in NYS if we moved them into all of the houses/camps that are used only a few months out of the year.
    No, I am not suggesting that be done. I am only pointing out a house is not a home.
    Someone who wants to live and work here has no problem living in or close to town and is smart enough to realize you don’t need to own lakefront to take advantage of all the lakes we have to enjoy.
    It is only the part-timers, the “let’s pretend to be an Adirondacker” who lust after lakefront and the backcountry.

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  49. Kent Gregson says:

    Brian,
    Seems you’ve opened a can of worms with this co-op with the Adirondack Exploder which is recognized as an advocate for preservation and a bit of a firebrand. The exchange of development rights seems like a good thing, but then there are the curve balls added like we’ve done no planning since 1880. These inacuracys do nothing to support the the exchange of development rights. They sure do stir up the “ADK wars” mentioned earlier. This is a situation which requires acurate commentary and sensitivity to the long fought battles here. There is much I could repudiate, but if the point is exchange of development rights, I and most have no problem

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  50. Dave Mason says:

    Why is a house on 250 acres of RM land, taking up perhaps 1 acre, used maybe 8 weeks a year, such a problem compared to logging the same 250 acres which makes roads all over it and tear up the entire place?

    For 1000 acres, are 4 homes a bigger disaster than a 1000 acre logging operation?

    I’d love a good technical answer.

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