Despite overwhelming opposition to a proposed wetland development, the state Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has reversed their position on a long-standing, pre-existing permit.
The permit amendment for the Deerwood subdivision has eased restrictions that were put in place to preserve the integrity of the wetland and protect the water quality of Upper Saranac Lake (USL). The proposed development allows for a five-bedroom home, and a septic system 100 feet from a stream and a rare Category 1 wetland that feeds USL. The Upper Saranac Foundation (USF) believes that the permit amendments will severely disrupt the fragile wetland ecosystem and have an undue adverse impact on the shoreline and the lake.
USF, along with over 70 concerned individuals and environmental activists including the Upper Saranac Lake Association and the Adirondack Council, voiced strong opposition to the proposed development. See the full story in the Adirondack Almanack.
Now, the coalition of conservationists, engineers, wetland ecologists, and neighbors has turned to the town of Santa Clara. The group is requesting the town to thoroughly assess the proposed development and review historical data, engineering reports, and ecological studies that were provided to the town. Santa Clara is being encouraged to conduct their own evaluations, develop independent decisions, and not defer to the APA’s approved permit amendment, and enforce the Santa Clara Town Land Use codes.
The group is building awareness and furthering their efforts by asking lake residents to express concerns by writing to the town directly. A template letter to the Town of Santa Clara is provided here.
USF believes that the original 1988 subdivision would not have been approved without a series of important conditions. Each of these conditions was set because of Deerwood’s significance to the water quality of USL. The Deerwood wetland complex includes species indicative of a high-quality and biologically diverse wetland and serves as a buffer and filter to enhance water quality in the lake.
Other property owners who purchased in the Deerwood subdivision did so knowing what the restrictions were and have abided by the guidance provided in the APA permit. For the benefit of the lake, USF feels the same should apply for any future development. While USF does not oppose responsible development, based on monitoring and our long term knowledge of USL and the watershed, our Board would be negligent not to speak on behalf of the lake. USF also recognizes and supports the efforts of area residents who have shared significant concerns.