APA, Governor Cuomo go down to the wire on Big Tupper resort

This week, the Adirondack Park Agency commission is scheduled to take its first big plunge into the truly, final last deliberations that will shape a vote on the Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake.

On Friday, the entire Agency board and the executive team staff from the APA will tour the site, under the supervision of administrative law judge Daniel O’Connell.

The wrinkle, of course, is that the board sets off on this journey without a chairperson.

Curt Stiles stepped aside over the summer and so far, Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t picked a replacement — either an interim or a permanent chair.

(Press attention has fallen on commissioner Lani Ulrich as a possible new leader for the agency, but the governor’s office has stayed mum.)

The process continues to rumble forward, but it’s hard to imagine the board navigating this decision — this is one of the biggest, most controversial decisions in the history of the APA — without stable leadership.

In past interviews, all sides of this debate have told me that they think it would be very disruptive to have a leadership change, or new appointment, made in the middle of active deliberations, which will continue from this week into the winter.

I have a call in to the governor’s office to see if there are any new developments, and it may be that some kind of announcement will come ahead of the APA meeting.

I will also say that sources at the Agency have told me that they think the executive staff and long-time commission members are handling this uncertainty well.

But this is a process that will face intense public scrutiny, and likely a legal challenge as well.

In the past decade, APA chairmen like Dick LeFebvre, Ross Whaley and Curt Stiles really shaped big decisions like this, and served a key role in handling public perception, as well as communications with Albany.

So…this is uncharted territory.  Look for updates as the week goes along.

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9 Comments on “APA, Governor Cuomo go down to the wire on Big Tupper resort”

  1. Paul says:

    Since all board members have equal say (or that is supposed to be the way it works) why does it really matter?

    What is the deadline for a decision?

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  2. Pete Klein says:

    Brian, bring the duck tape. No one is allowed to talk or ask questions administrative law judge Daniel O’Connell will shoot you.

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  3. scratchy says:

    How long has this thing been dragging on. They should make a decision, either for or against, rather than dragging it out.

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  4. Mike says:

    It doesn’t really matter if there is a chairman or not. The APA will give the ACR some type of permit with conditions. Then we can all watch as it goes nowhere. From what I’ve read from the hearings they have way overestimated their selling prices, they have no realistic chance of getting the financing through the PILOT and there is no market for overpriced remote property surrounding a defunct ski area. Add on top of that the developers shady financial past topped with non payment of their property taxes and federal tax liens against the only known investor and you have a sure recepie for a grand flop. Good Luck!

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  5. Paul says:

    Look at all those thumbs up! Interesting to see so many people routing for a failure in TL.

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  6. John says:

    Paul, I don’t think it’s people routing for a failure, anyone who looks at the details of the ACR objectively will have to be very skeptical. Just looking at it from the real estate market view it would be a miracle if it ever gets off the ground.

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  7. Paul says:

    They are talking about a 14 year window. If they expected to do this over two or three years I would be very skeptical.

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  8. Paul says:

    The prices in this market are too high. I will give you that. The lack of waterfront is the biggest hurdle. I give them credit for trying.

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  9. John says:

    Paul, the devil is in the details. Here is a doozie: As proposed the development will need to sell $38 MILLION worth of real estate starting in year one just to generate the tax revenue needed to pay the debt service on the bond. If, and it’s a big If they manage that, it still doesn’t put a penny into any of the local taxing entities coffers. Condidering that the Spruce Peak development at Stowe sold about $40 million in its best year I,d say the ACR projections are a tad over optomistic.

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