The Adirondack Park Agency faces one of the most high profile legal challenges in its four-decade history.
And since April, the APA has navigated those waters without a permanent attorney in the role of general counsel
At today’s meeting in Ray Brook, Chairwoman Lani Ulrich announced that long-time board member Jim Townsend will take the spot vacated by John Banta last spring:
“The Adirondack Park Agency is delighted to welcome Mr. Townsend back,” Ulrich said in a statement.
For more than a decade, Mr. Townsend worked tirelessly on complicated Park issues and has a proven track record of accomplishments on behalf of the Adirondacks. His unique skill set will be a tremendous asset for the Agency.”
Townsend left the APA board in 2010, when he wasn’t reappointed by then-Governor David Paterson.
“I am honored to serve as the Agency’s General Counsel, said Townsend, in a statement released on Thursday.
“I thank Governor Cuomo for this opportunity and will diligently work to promote and protect this magnificent treasure. Since my departure from the Agency Board my passion for the Adirondacks has only increased.”
Townsend arrives as the APA faces a legal challenge from Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club over a series of permits issued for the Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake last year.
Environmental activists have alleged that APA staffers — including Banta and other officials — may have violated strict rules designed to maintain the fairness and impartiality of the review charges.
Banta and the APA have denied those charges and the lawsuit sparked anger in Tupper Lake.
Townsend is set to begin at the end of this month and will be in place for the APA’s monthly meeting in February.
He works currently for a law firm in Monroe County, but will relocate to the Adirondacks. He’s also a 46er, and chairs the Monroe chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club.