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Entries Tagged as 'politics'

Adirondack Experience Sues to Vacate Village of Lake Placid Effort to Seize Property via Eminent Domain

July 14th, 2017 · No Comments · Adirondack News

BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE, N.Y. – July 14, 2017 – On Thursday, July 13, Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, filed a lawsuit to counter efforts on the part of the Village of Lake Placid to seize its property via eminent domain.

The Church of the Nazarene formerly occupied the Adirondack Experience’s property in Lake Placid

The Church of the Nazarene formerly occupied the Adirondack Experience’s property in Lake Placid

The Village asserts that the two parcels, at 2476 and 2478 Main Street, are need to assemble a site for a proposed parking garage. At a public hearing on the issue held on March 13, 2017 in Lake Placid, members of the public were virtually unanimous in their rejection of the Village board’s proposal to build a garage on the site – and the proposal to use eminent domain to seize the property of a nonprofit institution. Press accounts and social media postings have similarly been harshly critical of the plan. Despite this, the Village Board on June 12 held a special meeting during which it issued a determination and findings that there is a public need for the museum’s property. The board meeting was held following the expiration of the 90-day time within which, by law, the Board was required to issue its determination and findings. The Village also failed to hold a public hearing on the environmental impact of the proposed garage project.

Adirondack Experience is petitioning the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Third Department, to vacate the Village board’s action. The petition is based on both procedural flaws in the legal steps the Village has pursued and on the fact that the Village has failed to demonstrate that there is a need for the public taking of the museum’s property.

Mayor Randall at the June 12 special board meeting that was held to seize the museum’s property.

Mayor Randall at the June 12 special board meeting that was held to seize the museum’s property.

Within days, Adirondack Experience will also file a separate suit against the Town of North Elba to reverse suspicious punitive actions taken by Town Assessor on March 14 in an apparent effort to pressure the museum and support the eminent domain effort. On March 14, the day following the Village’s March 13 eminent domain hearing, the Assessor revoked the museum property’s tax exempt status and slashed the property’s assessed value from $1,188,000 (it had been $1,888,400 in 2010) to a rock bottom $850,000. The $850,000, not coincidentally, reflects the amount the Village would like to pay for the property, which was appraised at $1,500,000 in 2015. The second lawsuit will be filed in Supreme Court against the Town of North Elba and seek to have the Assessor’s punitive action reversed and the tax exemption restored.

David M. Kahn, Adirondack Experience’s Executive Director, said, “The Village of Lake Placid board’s attempt to grab the Adirondack Experience property for pennies on the dollar is unconscionable. They have damaged the value of the museum’s assets by attempting to manipulate its apparent value though the slight-of-hand reduction of its assessed value. We are confident that the courts will give the museum a fair hearing and put an end to this unprecedented assault on a nonprofit organization.”

About Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake

Visitors at the Adirondack Experience in Blue Mountain Lake

Visitors at the Adirondack Experience in Blue Mountain Lake

The Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, accredited by the American Association of Museums, shares the history and culture of the Adirondack region in 24 historic and contemporary buildings on a 121-acre campus in the Central Adirondacks, and in free programs at schools throughout Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington Counties. The museum is supported in part with donations from the general public, with some general operating support made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo York State Council on the Arts
with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. For additional information, call 518-352-7311 or visit

Petition to Annul Condemnor’s Determination (PDF)

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New Adirondack Park Report Finds Four Dominant Trends Shaping Life Inside The Blue Line

May 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

A newly published report identifies four dominant trends shaping life inside the Adirondack Park:

  • The Park’s population is declining at a steadily increasing pace;
  • The median age in the Park is eight years older than in the rest of New York State and, more strikingly, five years older than in the communities outside the Park’s boundary in the same 12-county area;
  • State-owned lands and public conservation easements have grown by one million acres in the past 30 years. Since 1972, these protected lands have grown by 50% to 3,392,000 acres;
  • Park school enrollments, which had been declining at 2% per year since the start of the millennium, are now declining at nearly 2.5% annually.

The report, entitled “The Adirondack Park Regional Assessment 2014: Seeking Balance,” is a follow-up to the 2009 Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project (APRAP) report. The research team remained the same through both studies, including Brad Dake, Chairman of the APRAP study, and a team of community planning experts from The LA Group of Saratoga Springs. Overseeing the report, along with Mr. Dake, were Town of Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board; and former Adirondack Park Agency Commissioner Deanne Rehm.

“Our goal is quite simple: to bring new information to the 140-year discussion about the preservation of the Park and the communities therein,” said Mr. Dake.

Among APRA 2014’s many findings:

  • The Park’s population is declining at a steadily increasing pace and the median age will increase by four years this decade alone. In the early 1970s, the population was 115,000 and the median age was 31. The population is projected to drop to that level again by 2030 (a loss of 17,000+ residents) and the median age will rise to 51.
  • From 2000 to 2030, the number of Park residents younger than age 30 is projected to decline by an average of 14% each decade. By 2030, more than one-third of the Park residents will be over the age of 60.
  • From 2003 to 2013, the number of public school students living inside the Adirondack Park dropped by 21% (an average of 422 students per year), twice the rate of decline in communities outside the Park’s boundary in the same 12-county area.
  • State-owned forever-wild lands now account for 45% of the Adirondack Park land area, while state-owned conservation easements in perpetuity account for another 13% of the Park. Taken together, 58% of the area of the Park is restricted from future development. Each of these percentages is the highest in the Park’s history.
  • Over the past 16 years, New York State has acquired conservation easements on private lands in the Park at a pace of 63 square miles annually. Over the past 25 years, these acquisitions have exceeded the size of Yosemite National Park.

“Historically, analyses of population and demographic trends in the Adirondacks have relied on data from the 12 North Country counties. But only two of those counties are wholly within the Adirondack Park, while 10 counties straddle the Park boundary,” said Mr. Dake. “Data from communities outside the Park’s boundaries have often produced a skewed picture of what’s happening inside the Blue Line. APRA 2014 took unprecedented steps to look specifically at what’s happening inside the Park and we found the picture to be quite different than what’s happening outside in the same 12-county area.”

Sources for APRA 2014 include the Program for Applied Demographics at Cornell University, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Education and several other state agencies. In addition, an extensive survey of Blue Line school districts provided the most accurate count ever of K-12 students living inside the Park.

APRA 2014 can be read online at


Environmental Org Warns ‘Snirt’ ATV Rally Has Grown Too Big

April 11th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Adirondack News

April 12 Event Now Draws 3,600 All-Terrain Vehicles to Tug Hill’s Lewis County Trails & Roads, Leaves Lasting Scar on Landscape & Rivers

Adirondack CouncilLOWVILLE, N.Y. – The Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization has called on the Lewis County Board of Legislators to reconsider its prediction that an annual all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rally causes no environmental harm.

The Adirondack Council wants Lewis County officials to conduct a full environmental impact study of the annual SNIRT (Snow/Dirt) Rally, which allows ATV riders from across the Northeast to use public highways and the county’s trails to travel between local taverns.

The event causes erosion, excessive noise and disturbances to fish and wildlife, while destroying vegetation, intrudes on quiet neighborhoods and imperils human lives, the Adirondack Council said. Any one of these is reason enough to require a full environmental review under state law, the organization warned.

The SNIRT event drew only a few hundred participants when it began 11 years ago. In recent years, however, more than 3,500 riders have participated. The event’s impact has expanded from Tug Hill into the Adirondack Park, near Brantingham Lake, at the edge of the Independence River Wild Forest.

“We are extremely disappointed that the board of legislators has decided to operate an all-terrain vehicle rally without implementing the necessary changes that would minimize the environmental damage this event has caused in the past,” said Adirondack Council Legislative Director Kevin Chlad in an April 8 letter to the board.

“SNIRT’s rapid and uncontrolled expansion has overwhelmed the capacity of law en forcement, leading to an epidemic of trespassing on both state and private lands. Such lawlessness should be unacceptable to the county’s lawmakers,” Chlad wrote. “Further, we find it troubling that you continue to allow this event on public highways within the Adirondack Park.”

Chlad noted that that operation of ATVs on public highways is illegal, unless roads are properly opened.

“We believe that Lewis County has violated the provisions of section 2405 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law,” which limits the roads that may be opened to ATV traffic to only short distances, and onlywhere they can connect two already-legal ATV-riding areas or trails. Instead, the county opens roads that connect only to other roads.

Chlad said the county appears to be mistakenly relying upon another section of the V&TL (section 2408) to justify its road openings, when that section is merely a set of instructions for how to notify the public of special events.

“The Adirondack Council continues to recommend that a formal State Environmental Quality Review be conducted so that officials may monitor the full extent of damage that the event inflicts, both on the region’s roads and its natural resources,” Chlad advised.

Chlad said the organization strongly disagreed with the county’s finding that the annual event has so little impact on the environment that there is no need for a formal environmental impact study. He reminded county officials that the NY State Environmental Quality Review Act requires a formal environmental review of any proposed event that would cause one of the following to environmental changes:

  • Substantial adverse change in noise levels;
  • Substantial increase in soil erosion;
  • Destruction of large quantities of vegetation;
  • Substantial interference with the movement of fish or wildlife;
  • Impairment of aesthetic resources of community or neighborhood character; or,
  • Creation of a hazard to human health.

Over the past five years, the SNIRT Rally has caused all six of these impacts, Chlad said.

He noted that most of them can be witnessed on videos posted by the event’s participants.

“The Adirondack Council believes that this overdue assessment is a reasonable and necessary step towards improving this event in the future, as it would allow for proper environmental safeguards to be put in place,” he wrote. “We understand and support the county’s desire to boost tourism. However, we strongly believe that state law calls for events such as this to be carefully planned and strictly supervised to prevent the widespread abuses of public and private property that have been left in the wake of every previous SNIRT event.

“A lack of attention to these details encourages a culture of wanton environmental destruction, and at worst, simultaneously promotes drinking and driving with reckless disregard for public and private property and the well-being of other riders,” he noted.

In 2013, dozens of SNIRT participants had to be rescued by local rescue and law enforcement officials when they left the highways that had been opened to them and trespassed into local farm fields, where they were stranded by deep snows. Lewis County still has a significant snowpack as this weekend’s event approaches.

The Adirondack Council is privately funded, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of New York’s six-million-acre Adirondack Park. The Council envisions an Adirondack Park comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by working forests and farms, and vibrant rural communities. The Council carries out its mission and vision through research, education, advocacy and legal action. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.


Recent video of SNIRT Rally: Note that multi-passenger vehicles with roofs are too large to be legally registered as ATVs in NY State. Note also the constant presence of alcohol in these videos, as well as the riders leaving the roads and trails to cross wetlands and farm fields, both of which are supposed to be off-limits to all riders.


Snirt Run 2012 (Whiskey Riders)


2013 Snirt Run

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