ALBANY, N.Y. — The Adirondack Park Agency voted 10-1 on Friday to approve a permit for a proposed 6,200-acre, year-round resort and residential development in Tupper Lake.

The largest project ever reviewed by the agency would rebuild the Big Tupper ski area, build a new marina on Big Tupper Lake, and construct housing in the area, about 80 miles from the Canadian border.

Preserve Associates has proposed 206 single-family and 125 multiple-family dwellings with 453 units, as well as an inn with 20 rooms, 20 two-bedroom suites and 15 new single-family Great Camps on 20- to 30-acre lots. How extensively they build, however, would depend on how much they sell.

The Adirondack Club and Resort project, first proposed more than six years ago, still needs Department of Environmental Conservation approvals for water and wastewater treatment for the project.

"This brings the opportunity for economic development to Tupper Lake," APA Commissioner William Thomas said. "This is something that's badly needed by that community and a lot of communities in the Adirondacks."

Most board members also noted the development potential while acknowledging environmental concerns about the effect on wildlife and doubts about the project's sales projections.

"It does not rise to the level of an adverse environmental impact," Commissioner Frank Mezzano said, noting its proximity to the existing hamlet of Tupper Lake and the ski center and the existing land use. "It has been logged heavily for decades."

Commissioner Richard Booth, who voted no, said the project presents a significant environmental impact and the agency's job is to protect the Adirondacks and not balance that equally against economic gain. He said the developers did inadequate wildlife assessment for such a large project.

Plans call for a four-phase development, depending on unit sales, with an analysis projecting construction will last 15 years. That's expected to pump $142 million in direct wages altogether to an annual workforce of about 300. The club and resort would employ 236 full-time workers at an average salary of almost $21,000.

The ski area would be redeveloped with a base lodge, gym and recreation center, clubhouse with spa and pool, an amphitheater and a facility for horseback riding. Chair lifts would be replaced, and new trails and lifts would serve the residential developments.

Commissioners agreed on a permit condition that the ski area remain open to the public for 50 years.

Previous design changes made in response to APA and environmental concerns included eliminating a proposed shooting school and several high ridge line developments.



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