Warren County Memories book Teen Excellence

A shrill response to a reasonable letter on a large Adirondack project

2011-11-18T09:40:00Z A shrill response to a reasonable letter on a large Adirondack project Glens Falls Post-Star
November 18, 2011 9:40 am

A recent exchange of letters to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake exposes the current states of mind on two sides of the debate over Adirondack land use.

The first, published Nov. 8, was from Jim LaValley,

chairman of a Tupper Lake group advocating for Adirondack Park Agency approval of a large development, the Adirondack Club and Resort.

The second was from John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council, an environmental advocacy group.

The APA is now considering the resort's permit application. If it grants the permit, organizations like the Council could delay the project by filing an appeal.

LaValley says an appeal will cost state taxpayers money, that the project has already been delayed by years in an extended review process and that a delay will lead to local municipalities losing tax revenue.

He characterizes the "preservationist groups" as "turning their backs" on the Adirondack people.

Sheehan's letter says LaValley is a bully who demonizes anyone with questions about the project, that he is making "irresponsible and baseless accusations." He urges Tupper Lakers not to let LaValley's "acid tongue and bluster" ruin their view of their own community.

Whether you support this development or not, what Mr. LaValley says is true - an appeal of an APA approval will delay the project further.

Since Mr. Sheehan says the Council "will not be intimidated," it seems at least possible the Council will file an appeal. Any delay an appeal causes will be to the Council's credit or blame, depending on your point of view.

Surely, Mr. Sheehan wouldn't shrink from taking responsibility for a delay, if it is caused by his group's appeal. Why, then, the lashing retort, why the attack against Mr. LaValley?

As rhetoric goes, Mr. LaValley's is mild. And yet, you'd think he suggested the Council eats Adirondack babies, from Mr. Sheehan's response.

Here is how Mr. LaValley finishes his letter: "Given the fragile condition of our economy, are you, the taxpayer, willing to pay for the appeals that are filed by the preservationist groups?"

Here is how Mr. Sheehan finishes: "There are a lot of nice people who live in Tupper Lake. They just don't write letters like that - to anyone."

Maybe Mr. Sheehan spilled coffee in his lap that morning. Or maybe he feels that the Adirondack Council, used to having its way at the APA, is being pushed to the fringe, and it's making him shrill.

Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at will@poststar.com and followed on Twitter at @trafficstatic.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) Comments

  1. pjoseph153
    Report Abuse
    pjoseph153 - December 02, 2011 1:32 am
    It will be quite interesting to see if the new APA board can reach a fair, independent and unbiased decision regarding this proposed development. It seems to me that the Adirondack Council has had too much inflence is previous decisions rendered by the socalled independent APA. I think the APA served a useful purpose at one time, but times have changed. The economy is dismal within the blue line and migration away from where we Barkeaters were born and raised has steadily grown. Yet, flatland foreigners have tremendous control over our lives and the lives of our children. It does not seem just or fair. I guess I will always be just a little old Moutain Boy that speaks his mind. Sometimes, it reminds me of trying to goose butterflies!
  2. GlenD
    Report Abuse
    GlenD - November 22, 2011 4:54 pm
    nothing John Sheehan says should surprise anyone. He is a professional hypester and spin doctor who will say anything to further his goals.

    ..remember his hype and alarmist rhetoric about the monstrous 'Frankenpine' cell tower at Pilot Knob? (Sheehan coined the term is the service of alarm-ism.) Contrary to Sheehan's claims that the tower would ruin Lake Georges last pristine shoreline and the favorite scene of the Hudson River school of artists, the cell tower cannot even be seen from the lake.

    His alarmist hype about the ACR is no doubt of the same character, a weave of falsehoods and half-truths.
  3. kttenny
    Report Abuse
    kttenny - November 19, 2011 8:31 pm
    Will the attractions and ski hill be accessible to locals or will it be strictly to the members (lots of $$$$) ? Sorry, I don't know where to go to ask this(The Club has not replied to my emails).The last time they advertised the Big Tupper ski area as being "private" for the members,including the 6,000 acres being accessible to members only, for hiking, etc. As being a native of Tupper, I don't want people to get shafted once the Club is completed and decides to come in with their own seasonal "cream of the crop" employees and hire only a handful out of Tupper itself.

    Why isn't Mr. LaValley discussing the taxes that will visit the Tupper locals after the project has been completed? The Club is asking for a 10 year (?) tax pardon before it will be able to pay taxes.

    At this point, it seems as if the town of Tupper Lake is so desperate that they are willing to do anything, even if it means to sell its soul and resources. The Club will take advantage of Tupper's vulnerability.
  4. Mark Wilson
    Report Abuse
    Mark Wilson - November 18, 2011 3:09 pm
    Mr. LaValley's argument that taxpayer money would be wasted by any group choosing to appeal an unfavorable APA decision cannot with any consistency be used by anyone who did not feel the same way about appeals by LeRoy Douglass, Art Spiegel, or Sandy Lewis. It is simply the right of any aggrieved party.
  5. Mike Huggins
    Report Abuse
    Mike Huggins - November 18, 2011 12:40 pm
    "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." - Saul Alinksy
  6. rdc
    Report Abuse
    rdc - November 18, 2011 11:13 am
    Isn't it interesting how the news is all related? All we hear about these days is the 1%ers and how they affect the rest of us. Of course, in our neck of the woods they do provide jobs for construction workers and pay taxes on their second homes. Can't deny that. But do we really need them? Or, do we really need their mouthpieces to badmouth a process that might mitigate their excesses? Everybody can point to a lakeside home where the clearcutting exceeds allowable limits - yet somehow 'they' got away with it. I think it's a good idea to put the brakes on before every ridgeline and lakefront is occupied by some Architectural Digest nightmare. They have the money to build and sustain these behemouths, let them follow the rules like the rest of society. When they decide they don't need to play by these rules, it'll be one more indication that society has tipped past the brink. To the detriment of all.


1) Comments must be contained to the topic of the articles only. Comments that stray from the direct subject of the article will be deleted.

2) Readers are free to comment on and debate other readers' comments, but comments must specifically address the issue(s) raised. Comments containing personal insults directed toward another reader in any form will be deleted.

3) Comments must be civil in tone, and there will be no name calling of any kind. Uncivil or inappropriate comments will be deleted, as will any comment containing profanities.

4) Comments critical of crime or accident victims will be deleted.

5) Comments that are potentially libelous, including those that contain accusations not supported by facts, will be deleted.

Commenters who abuse these policies will have their e-mail registrations revoked.


View the full commenting policy.

Thank you, and we hope you enjoy interacting with us and the community.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick