TUPPER LAKE - It will be another month before the Adirondack Club and Resort lawsuit can move forward.
In a letter dated Dec. 3, the New York state Supreme Court's Appellate Division approved a 30-day extension requested by Assistant Attorney General Susan Taylor, who is representing the state Adirondack Park Agency in the case.
In a letter to the same court dated Dec. 4, Robert Sweeney, the attorney representing ACR developers, also requested a 30-day extension.
"It is incumbent on me to note, on behalf of my client, that the private-party Respondents consented to this extension as a courtesy to the Attorney General and in recognition of the extraordinary burden imposed on that office by this litigation, which includes a 22,000-page record and Appellants pleadings and supporting affidavits that run to 1,417 paragraphs," Sweeney wrote.
Protect the Adirondacks, an environmental group leading the suit, met a court-imposed Sept. 9 deadline by submitting a lengthy brief detailing 29 allegations on how the APA violated established official legal process and various parts of the APA Act in voting 10-1 to approve the ACR project in January 2012.
The state and ACR representatives were given 45 days to respond to the brief, but a court-approved 30-day extension postponed that until Dec. 16. Now they have until Jan. 16 to reply, after which Protect will have 15 days to reply to their responses. The court will then schedule an oral argument and make a decision, a process that can take several months.
The state attorney general office's assistant deputy press secretary, Melissa Grace, said her office can't comment on the case, and APA spokesperson Keith McKeever did not respond by press time to three calls from the Enterprise.
Peter Bauer of Protect the Adirondacks said the recent delays are not his group's fault.
"People out there always point the fingers at us about any delays, and that has not been the case throughout this entire lawsuit," Bauer said. "We just wanted to be very clear that we did not ask for this extension. We have agreed to it as a professional courtesy, but this came from the state and from the ACR."
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 a spa, a marina and an equestrian center. The project received permits from the state Adirondack Park Agency on Jan. 20, 2012, after eight years, but progress stopped that March when two environmental groups and three nearby landowners sued to challenge the APA's decision. That suit is working its way through state courts.
The town-village planning board has approved the first phase, but the project still must obtain permits from the state departments of Environmental Conservation and Health and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.