Skip Navigation
Regional News
Today's decision appears to clear the way for development of the massive Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake.  Pictured are developer Tom Lawson, and lead developer Michael Foxman Photo: Mark Kurtz
Today's decision appears to clear the way for development of the massive Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake. Pictured are developer Tom Lawson, and lead developer Michael Foxman Photo: Mark Kurtz

Cuomo weighs in on Adirondack Club and Resort decision

Listen to this story
In a sweeping decision made public yesterday, the appellate division of New York's Supreme Court dismissed an environmental group's lawsuit that aimed to block the Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake.

The ruling appears to give the green light to a project that has been on the drawing board for more than a decade.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement praising the court's decision and the process that led to the permitting of the resort.

"This ruling confirms the Agency's approval was based on substantial evidence developed carefully and in strict accordance with mandated State statues and environmental regulations," Cuomo said.

"The Adirondack Club and Resort Project will bring significant economy activity, jobs, and new opportunities to Tupper Lake and the Adirondack Park."

Hear this

Download audio

Share this


Explore this

Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

Read the full court ruling (PDF)

"Today's ruling validates the Agency's thorough and extensive review process which process which ensures responsible development with strong environmental protections," said Adirondack Park Agency chairwoman Lani Ulrich in a statement on Thursday.

"We believe this project will be a transformational economic development opportunity for Tupper Lake and the entire Adirondack Park. We now look forward to working with the community to bring this project to fruition."

In an email to North Country Public Radio, lead developer Michael Foxman says he never doubted the outcome, “and I don't think anyone else involved did, either. The environment never was an issue or at risk,” he writes. “We planned and will deliver an environmentally-friendly resort.”

Foxman calls the decision “a turning point for the region and the community that both deserve.”

Peter Bauer heads Protect the Adirondacks.  NCPR file photo
Peter Bauer heads Protect the Adirondacks. NCPR file photo
Sweeping rejection of environmental groups' arguments

Protect the Adirondacks, the Sierra Club and some local landowners in Tupper Lake had raised a broad range of procedural and environmental objections to permits issued for the project by the APA.

In today's ruling, the state court rejected those arguments and also dismissed claims that state officials had violated "ex parte" rules designed to prevent political meddling in the process.

The APA approved permits green-lighting the project in January 2012 following a 10-to-1 vote by agency commissioners.  Protect and others filed litigation shortly afterward.

But today's decision addressed many of the environmental complaints in detail and found them to be "without merit."

"This is a great loss of the Adirondack Park and the Adirondack Park Agency because it sets a precedent for forest fragmentation across the Adirondacks," said Protect's Peter Bauer in a statement.

He says the green group is still working to digest the decision, which he called "extremely disappointing."  Bauer said it's unclear whether more legal action might be filed in the future.

"Partying in Tupper Lake tonight"

The current base lodge at Big Tupper. File photo
The current base lodge at Big Tupper. File photo
Local leaders in Tupper Lake say they're thrilled by the decision.  Speaking with North Country Public Radio, Mayor Paul Maroun said he believes it will lead to the revitalization of his community's economy, especially with the proposed reopening of the Big Tupper Ski Area.

Jim LaValley, head of a group called ARISE that organized to boost the project, said Thursday that he was "thrilled" by the court ruling. 

"There'll be partying in Tupper Lake this afternoon and into the evening," he said.

The developers have proposed building more than 700 great camps, vacation homes and condos on a 6,200-acre parcel that has long been used for logging and hunting camps.

Economic doubts "not convincing"

Some environmental activists have continued to oppose the ACR project.  File photo
Some environmental activists have continued to oppose the ACR project. File photo
While many critics have questioned the economic viability of the concept, boosters — including many elected officials in the Park — have insisted that it will bring jobs and opportunity back to a fading blue collar town.

The lawsuit argued that economic uncertainty and possible burdens on local taxpayers from the project were cause for the APA permits to be annulled.  But in today's ruling, the court concluded that "we are not persuaded."

The court also rejected a bid by Protect and others who filed the suit that their legal fees should be reimbursed by New York state.

"The courts have now affirmed that and hopefully the developers can finally proceed on this economically transformational project for Tupper Lake and the entire region without further delaying tactics," said Garry Douglas head of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

Preserve Associates plans to build a 719-unit resort on 6,200 acres of forestland near the Big Tupper Ski Area. The development will include so-called Great Camps, single-family homes, town houses, a sixty-room hotel, a restaurant, shops, a health spa, and a marina. Preserve Associates also intends to expand and renovate the ski area. - See more at: http://www.adirondackexplorer.org/outtakes/apa-approves-tupper-lake-resort#sthash.19Ay54Tn.dpuf

Green groups divided over ACR

This outcome follows a deep split within the Adirondack Park's environment community. The largest organization in the Park, the Adirondack Council, backed the APA's decision to issue permits for the resort.

But Protect and the Sierra Club forged ahead with a lawsuit, convinced that New York state had effectively ignored its own laws designed to protect ecosystems inside the Blue Line.

Visitor comments

on:

NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.