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Little expects new APA chair soon

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Speculation has been building for weeks over who Gov. Andrew Cuomo will choose as the next chairperson of the Adirondack Park Agency.

Lately, that speculaion has turned into concern as the agency board is about to begin reviewing one of the largest development projects ever proposed in the Park -- with no one in the chairman's seat. But one North Country lawmaker says she believes the governor is close to making a decision.

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State Sen. Betty Little says she’s talked with the Cuomo administration .

Latre last week she said she thinks there will be a new chair by the time the APA Board of Commissioners meet next month to begin its review of the Adirondack Club and Resort.

 The APA board has been without a chairman since August, when Curt Stiles resigned.

 The governor could name an existing commissioner acting chair or permanent chair without approval of the state Senate. That’s how Little thinks it will happen.

"For any new commissioner, there would have to be confirmation, and it doesn't look like we're back until January," Little said. "We certainly need the chair now."

Environmentalists and local government leaders have called on Cuomo to name a chair before Nov. 17.

That’s when the APA commissioners begin a series of three, two-day meetings on the Adirondack Club and Resort is a controversial $500 million project on and around the Big Tupper Ski Area in Tupper Lake.

Plans include construction of nearly 700 luxury housing units — along with an inn, marina, and other amenities.The hearings continue into January.

Little said the APA needs a chair to guide review of the project.

"Any organization, when they have a project like that, they need a chair of their commission," she said. "You need leadership there."

If an existing commissioner takes over as chair, as expected, that still leaves the board with only 10-members instead of 11. In theory that creates the possibility of a tie-vote on the project, though it's difficult to try and handicap the decision at this point.

One other wrinkle here — the terms of four of the current seven commissioners on the board have expired.

By law Commissioners Cecil Wray, Arthur Lussi, Bill Thomas and Frank Mezzano can continue to serve until they are either reappointed or replaced.

The other three APA board members are designees representing the departments of state, environmental conservation and economic development.



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