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Judge keeps resort hearing on track with ruling

June 21, 2011
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer (jcollier@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - As the final group of session dates for an adjudicatory hearing on the Adirondack Club and Resort gets under way today, parties will hear testimony that state Adirondack Park Agency staff calls crucial to the proceeding.

That's because Administrative Law Judge Daniel P. O'Connell, who is overseeing the hearing, ruled Monday to keep the testimony as part of the record.

O'Connell denied several motions from John Caffry, attorney for the green group Protect the Adirondacks, to preclude testimony offered by development consultants Kevin Franke and Jeff Anthony for Preserve Associates, the development group looking to build the large-scale resort.

Caffry argued that Preserve Associates attorney Thomas Ulasewicz didn't provide documents supporting their testimony as he should have through a discovery motion.

But O'Connell decided to leave the testimony in, as Caffry had been given the opportunity to request additional documents and Ulasewicz had either provided them or pointed him to where he could find them.

"I find this to be an efficient use of hearing resources given the availability of the witnesses over the next two weeks," O'Connell wrote in his ruling.

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The Adirondack Club and Resort is a proposed project that would overhaul the Big Tupper Ski Area and build out the land around it with 651 luxury housing units and various amenities including an inn, a marina and an equestrian center. The project is under review with the state Adirondack Park Agency, and as part of that review process, it is now being studied in an adjudicatory hearing.

The eight-week hearing is broken up into three blocks based on groups of issues.

The Enterprise is live-blogging at the hearings at http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/page/blogs.listAll/display/34/Jessica-Collier.html.

At the same time, O'Connell disagreed with Ulasewicz's argument that Caffry's discovery request was overly broad and vague and that he didn't show cause for his requests.

He also noted that Ulasewicz could have sought a decision from the judge, ruling that the request was burdensome, but he didn't.

If O'Connell had precluded the testimony, Anthony and Franke's pre-filed testimony would have been removed from the hearing record and they wouldn't take the stand to provide more direct testimony or be cross-examined.

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APA attorney Paul Van Cott called the testimony "almost all essential to the Agency Board's consideration of that hearing issue." He said the board couldn't make a decision on the project without it unless they sent it back into more adjudicatory hearing proceedings.

 
 

 

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