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Tom Lawson presents binders of documents to planners showing permit work done to date

Dan McClelland

by Dan McClelland
In his monthly update to the members of the Tupper Lake Planning Board Wednesday, Adirondack Club and Resort lead developer Tom Lawson brought along with him a cardboard box full of thick binders, carrying hundreds of pages of engineering, surveying and scientific documents he said his consultants and attorneys have submitted to the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Army Corp of Engineers.
The developers need to secure permits from both agencies in order to upgrade and improve a woods road that will open access a dozen or so “great camp” lots of varying sizes beyond the eastern edge of Lake Simond.  Once the road is rebuilt, the contracts of sale the developers have finalized with a half dozen or so buyers of these farm-sized lots can be converted to sold properties.
At December's planning board meeting when Mr. Lawson requested another 90-day extension in the planning board's conditional permit for the first phase of the development, which includes lands to the east and south of Lake Simond, he predicted this would be his last extension request as the permits from the two agencies were due to arrive very soon.
He said the binders he brought with him that evening represented just some of the preparation work their engineers and attorneys have prepared for the two agencies.
“This represents over six months' worth of work!”
“I took the liberty of bringing just some of the paperwork to show you,” Mr. Lawson told the planners.  Holding up a smaller binder he said it contained 75 pages of legal documents prepared for the DEC permit.  The smaller binder sat among several much larger ones.
He said the preparation work done on the permit represents the work oftwo law firms and many consultants... “with no two pages the same.”
Mr. Lawson said he didn't believe he and his partners would need another 90-day extension after the one the planners approved for them last month.
The planning board's approval of the first phase of the ACR development over four years ago was conditional on the developers securing all the other necessary permits from the Adirondack Park Agency and other regulatory bodies.
Permits from the DEC and the army corp are the last two major permits the developers need.
“So the ball is now in their courts?” planning board volunteer Jim Merrihew asked Mr. Lawson that evening.
Mr. Lawson said it was.  He said their application materials are currently being reviewed by the respective agencies and he is awaiting the response from officials there.  “They've asked us for several things and we've responded!”
“So they have everything they need?” Mr. Merrihew asked and the developer told him he believes they do.
Acting Chairman Bob Collier asked him if they have received notices of completed applications from the two agencies and Mr. Lawson said they haven't yet.
Mr. Collier asked him if more permits would be needed after these two were issued.  “Will the state Department of Health be involved?”
The developer said the agency may have some involvement regarding the wells that have been drilled on each great camp lot, but he said he wasn't sure.
Asked about the septic tanks planned for each lot, Mr. Lawson said the percolation tests have all be performed and the septic systems installed.  Some of the new lot owners may wish to increase the size of the existing systems, he speculated.
“Right now we're good on the wells, good on the septic systems.”  He said the forthcoming permits will permit them to build the access road, which involves crossing several streams.
“We're doing everything we can to keep this moving forward,” the developer assured the planners.
Mr. Collier said he appreciated Mr. Lawson for appearing before the m that evening.
The developer suggested to the planners they may wish to stop by his office on Park Street to see copies of all the documents they have filed so far.
He promised to keep the planners briefed on the project's progress on a monthly basis.