HRBRRD Stands Behind Re-instatement of Exclusive Use - January 19, 2011
The Regulating District has started issuing permit renewals for 2011. As anticipated, based on the Board's action last may, the permits once again include the Exclusive Use language that had been missing for the last few years. We are obviously pleased with the Board's decision to re-instate the Exclusive Use policy; however, we recognize that there is more work to be done with respect to enforcement of the current policy and establishing a permanent long-term solution to resolve this issue.
Recent News Regarding Exclusive Use - October 25, 2010
The issue of Exclusive Use is the number one priority of the SPC. We are working with the Governor’s office and the NYS Senate and Assembly to bring a legislative solution to this matter. Our lawyers and lobbyists are ready to continue negotiations with the new Governor and DEC Commissioner.
A dispute involving Exclusive Use of Beach Permit has recently drawn attention in the Broadalbin area. It is our understanding that this is a long standing dispute between several neighbors, all of them permit holders.
While a recent article in the Gazette (Ruling a threat to beach permits – October 22, 2010) suggests that the Department of Environmental Conservation has taken a new stand on the Exclusive Use issue, this is not the case. The Amsterdam Recorder article ( Residents seek clarity on 'exclusive use' - October 25, 2010) explains the confusion between state agencies regarding exclusive use.
This is the concept that the DEC was in favor of during the proposed permit system rule changes of 2009; however, these rule changes were not enacted and the HRBRRD has not proposed any further changes to their policies governing the Buffer Strip. In fact, the HRBRRD definitively reaffirmed their position on Exclusive Use this past May by reinstating the Exclusive Use language on permit signs and yearly permit renewals.
While we are pleased that our efforts to have the HRBRRD reaffirm their Exclusive Use policy were successful, the Sacandaga Protection Committee is actively seeking a permanent solution that will put to rest the question over who controls and enforces the policies governing the Permit Holders use of the Buffer Strip.
See also Resolution to shoreline access dispute sought - November 1, 2010 (Leader Herald)
Sign Replacement Update - June 18, 2010
As discussed below, the HRBRRD has agreed to replace permit holder signs that do not include the exclusive use language (note that this generally applies to signs installed within the last 3 years). We have had a number of requests asking how to go about actually getting the signs replaced. The HRBRRD has advised that any permit holder that would like their sign replaced should contact the HRBRRD and formally request replacement.
HRBRRD Agrees to Restore "Exclusive Use" Language to Signs and Permits - May 12, 2010
Following an extensive educational, legal and lobbying campaign, the Sacandaga Protection Committee succeeded in prompting the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District to restore exclusive use permits for the Great Sacandaga Lake permit system.
On May 11 the Regulating District held its regular board meeting in Johnstown and voted to restore exclusivity for all permits after hearing a final request from the Sacandaga Protection Committee’s legal counsel, Daniel A. Spitzer of Hodgson-Russ LLP. Mr. Spitzer addressed the board during the public comment period and requested the change to protect property values, the local tax base, and the environment of the lake and its surrounding areas. “Our purpose here today is to encourage you, the District, to take an important step to protect the permit system and property values around the lake, by reinstating the exclusivity provision on permits and signs,” Spitzer said. “This easy and inexpensive fix will save the District and local property owners considerably. Moreover, there is no legal reason not to act.”
After Mr. Spitzer’s comments, the board immediately agreed to consider the request. Ultimately, after reviewing the issue with district staff, the board, on a motion by board member Ronald Pintuff, voted five to one to restore exclusive use permits which had been in place for more than 70 years prior to the Regulating District’s policy reversal several years ago.
According to SPC Co-Chairman Joe Sullivan, the Regulating District’s decision was essential to protect not only permit holders, but the entire region. “If an exclusive use permit system was abolished, it would be detrimental to the whole community. You would have a 129-mile public beach. The environment would suffer because property owners would no longer have an incentive to maintain the shoreline, and additional costs would be placed upon local municipalities for trash pickup and parking control around the lake,” Sullivan said. “If the permit holders are denied exclusive use of the land in front, their property values would fall precipitously and the tax burden would unnecessarily shift to other taxpayers and to the Regulating District itself, which is already in financial disarray.”