TUPPER LAKE - To avoid another lawsuit, Bob Fuller is stepping down from the planning board as the body moves toward reviewing the Adirondack Club and Resort project.
Fuller was head of the village's Water and Wastewater Department when the project was first proposed and has worked closely on it since then. He retired from the village at the end of 2010 but has been doing ACR-related work for the village on a consultant basis since then.
"With all the stuff going on with the ACR, there was some concerns maybe that the, you know, Protect (the Adirondacks) or somebody could perhaps say that there was a conflict with the board because I was still there, so it just made it better for me to resign so that that wouldn't be anything that they could pull," Fuller told the Enterprise.
(Enterprise file photo)
Some ACR supporters are worried that Protect and the Sierra Club will legally challenge every permit the development project needs to get, after a lawsuit that is currently pending over the state Adirondack Park Agency's approval is resolved.
Fuller submitted his letter of resignation on Sept. 12. At a Sept. 17 village board meeting, Mayor Paul Maroun said he accepted it.
The village appoints three planning board members while the town board appoints four.
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 650 luxury housing units and various amenities including an inn, a spa and an equestrian center. The project received 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. That suit is working its way through state courts.
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.
Maroun said he will suggest former town Councilman Shawn Stuart at the next village board meeting.
When Trustee Tom Snyder asked why the village doesn't advertise the opening to see who else might be interested, Maroun said, "It's a mayor's appointment." He said the resignation had just come in, and he knew Stuart was interested and would do the job if approved.
Planning board member Don Dew Jr. has also expressed concern over a conflict of interest with ACR-related proceedings due to his participation as a neighboring-landowner party in the APA's adjudicatory hearing on the project.
When he first joined the board in summer 2010, he said he planned to abstain from any votes related to the ACR.
Since then, though, Dew has participated in some ACR-related votes, saying he only felt he needed to abstain while the hearing was in progress.
Fuller attended a Wednesday night meeting of the planning board, sitting in the audience. At the beginning of the meeting, planning board Chairman Jim Larkin apologized to Fuller and said that "as soon as this stuff goes by," he'd love to have Fuller back on the board. He told Fuller he's been a good board member.
"We'll think about that when the time comes," Fuller said when the Enterprise asked him after the meeting if he'd consider rejoining the board.
Fuller said he has been on the planning board for about four years.
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