Real-estate PAC spends on major Adirondacks development

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A real estate political action committee has spent $40,000 to promote a major development project around a defunct ski resort in the Adirondacks, state elections filings show.

The New York State Association of Realtors fund recently spent $23,000 on an advertising campaign, according to state elections filings. It's part of an expected $133,000 push on advertising and public relations that will take place by the end of the year, said Sean Casey, a project spokesman. The campaign is called ADK Works.

For the last decade, developers have pushed for a 6,400-acre resort called the Adirondack Club and Resort to surround the former Big Tupper ski area, which have 700 housing units. The construction phase would take more than a decade.

The ski area closed in the 1990s, but volunteers have kept it open for the last few years, and plan to do so again this year. The state has already approved the permits needed to build condominiums, mansions and homes that are part of the project. It has been stalled for the last two years because environmentalists filed lawsuits to shut down the project. A decision is expected next year.

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A spokesman for Protect the Adirondacks, an environmentalist group that brought the lawsuit, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Casey said developers have gone through all of the proper procedures and received all of the permits. He said the stalling of the project in the courts sets a dangerous precedent because it shows opponents have the power to drag out anything they don't like, even after it passes the rigorous state approval process.

“The stakes are getting higher because of the time elapsed,” he said. The advertising and public relations campaign, he said, “is a reminder to everyone that this is happening.”

The fight is a familiar battle for an Adirondacks town. On one side are environmentalists who want to preserve the wilderness and on the other are developers and local residents desperate for jobs in a region where they are scarce. Those opposed to the plan are hoping for a scaled-down version.

Project advocates claim that the project would create 300 temporary and 500 permanent jobs and bring in $20 million in tourist spending.

Concerns have been raised about the ability of the water system to handle the housing expansion as well as the effect on wildlife.