TUPPER LAKE - Adirondack Club and Resort supporters are in Albany today to try to spread the word about their side of the story.
"We felt it was important to bring that message to the State Capital, and show how groups like Protect (the Adirondacks) and others, are using Article 78 in a malicious nature, to cause economic harm to our area, and not as a true review of merits," Jim LaValley told the Enterprise in an email. "We want our elected officials to understand how the system is manipulated in a way that is causing an undue adverse impact on the people of the Park."
LaValley is chairman of Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving Their Economy, a local nonprofit group that is running the Big Tupper Ski Area on a mostly volunteer basis as it awaits the takeover from ACR developers. The state Adirondack Park Agency's January approval of the project has been challenged with a lawsuit by Protect, the Sierra Club and three nearby landowners.
LaValley was set to be in Albany today with Mark Moeller, president of the Tupper Lake Business Communit organization; Doug Wright, a local attorney who is representing TLBC and ARISE; and David Tomberlin, president of the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce and a town councilman.
The men were scheduled to give an interview to Fred Dicker of the New York Post at 10 a.m. and a press conference to the Legislative Correspondents Association at 11 a.m.
LaValley told the Enterprise they plan to unveil a legal brief by two Harvard Law School graduates that will talk about how special interest groups manipulate the system and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
The Adirondack Club and Resort, proposed by a Pennsylvania-based investment group called Preserve Associates, would overhaul the Big Tupper Ski Area in Tupper Lake and build out the land around it with about 700 luxury housing units and various amenities including a spa, a marina and an equestrian center. The project recieved permits from the state Adirondack Park Agency on Jan. 20 after eight years of negotiating, reworking the application and an extensive adjudicatory hearing.
In March, two environmental groups and three nearby landowners filed a lawsuit to challenge the APA's decision.
In addition to that, the project must also obtain a number of other approvals, including from the state departments of Environmental Conservation and Health, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the local town-village planning board.
The TLBC sponsored a contest last year to see if law students could write a brief that showed there were grounds that the environmentalist community was creating an undue adverse impact on economies through actions like the Article 78 lawsuit challenging the APA's January decision on the ACR. They're borrowing the term "undue adverse impact" from the APA, which usually uses it in an environmental context.
LaValley said the brief finds that the groups who filed the lawsuit are entitled to it under law, but that legal options like that have been abused.
"It seems evident that the intent of the lawsuit is of a malicious nature, intending to cause economic harm to the applicant and the community," Wright said in a written statement. "Based upon comments from appellant's representatives, the lawsuit is being used as a weapon and not as a genuine review of the merits."
The ACR supporters accuse the lawsuit of holding up the creation of jobs and economic stimulus of the community.
The brief will be available later today at www.tupper-lake.com.