Lake George-based Protect the Adirondacks
filed a memo in opposition to
a proposed law that would create a new
Transferrable Development Rights program
in the Adirondack Park, as well as streamline
The legislation is in committee in the
State Senate, where it has been introduced
by Sen. Betty Little, but it has not been
introduced in the State Assembly at this
point, according to the group.
According to Peter Bauer, executive director or Protect the Adirondacks, the bill aims to establish a process for willing landowners to voluntarily transfer and thereby extinguish development rights on lands they own in more restrictive, APA land use classification areas to land use areas designated for a higher density of development. Such transferred rights would be sold to landowners who seek to increase density in other areas.
“Unfortunately, the APA has provided zero analysis about the character of the receiving area for this transferred rights program and whether these lands can support higher densities,” said Bauer. “The APA has provided zero analysis about the need, or interest, for transferring rights from the transfer zone.
“Such a transfer is limited to within town boundaries of the transferring lands, yet the APA has provided no examples of municipalities where this program would be useful. This legislation could be very significant, yet it’s being rushed through with very little evidence provided of its need or utility.”
While the bill seeks to protect shorelines by exempting waterfront areas from qualifying as receiving zones for transferred development rights, it does not similarly protect farmlands or other critical environmental areas, said Bauer. The bill does not address tax shift complications from moving value from one school district to another, which could happen within a single town, such as Long Lake or Bolton or Queensbury.
“It appears that the APA is advancing a policy remedy in search of a problem” said Bauer.
He said the legislation also carries a number of procedural items enumerated for revision. Any benefits or improvements are unclear. “The procedural changes are very different from the TDR program. These should be separated from TDR program,” he added.
Bauer said his group encourages the APA to examine ways to meaningfully improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the APA Act. “If the APA is serious about reform of the APA Act and improving its effectiveness and efficiency it should convene a park-wide multi-stakeholder process to try and find reforms that have broad-based support,” said Bauer.
Protect the Adirondacks is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the 6-millionacre Adirondack Park in northern New York. It was formed through the merger of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks in 2009 and maintains an office in Lake George.
For more information, visit www.protectadks. org.