After reading an article by Brian Mann in the April Issue of Adirondack Life, I felt it was necessary to respond.
As a permit holder, I have to take offense with this article on many points. True, this reservoir was created to control the flooding on the Hudson River, and to augment its flow on low summer rainfall seasons, but to say many homes around this lake have made improvements such as seawalls, is untrue. Yes, a few permit holders, a very few, have political connections that perhaps extend beyond the control of the Regulating District, to allow this to happen, however, most permitees are not allowed to do this, and are even assessed an "Administration Fee" for doing this, and must correct this wrong-doing.
As a permit holder, to say that Environmental groups are troubled by the Hudson River - Black River Regulating District (HRBRRD) permit system that allows private citizens and developers to lease "thousands of acres" of state-owned waterfront at bargain prices is very misleading. Much of this waterfront is underwater in the spring, (my own lakefront can not be reached until late June because of the high water) and the clean-up from the flooding can be extensive.
Next, the permit system actually operates at a loss is totally untrue. If you look at the Independent Auditor's Report dated Aug. 25, 2003, by the firm of Toski, Schaefer, and Co., P.C., Page 16, you would see that the permit system budgeted $400,000 in permit fees and collected $442,668 for a profit of $42, 668.
Only when the HRBRRD tried to raise these permit fees illegally did they start to claim "losing money." Less than one month after the independent audit came out did they claim they need $1,980,980. After wading through the regulations set up by New York State to create HRBRRD did we realize that much of what they tried to do was illegally being transferred to the permit holders and that they were still making a profit on the permit system.
As to the best real estate deal anywhere, you must realize that lakefront property owners pay at least double in property taxes to border this state land. Much of the property taxes the HRBRRD pays are on property under water.
Had Mr. Mann done some homework, he would also have found that Lanzi's deck does not extend on State Land. (All you have to do is look at the stakes.) Perhaps a few concrete pavers might, but not the deck itself.
There are also many questions as to what control the Adirondack Park Agency should have, since this lake was built much before that Agency was even created and before the blue line was extended. Why are controls being placed on the Sacandaga by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the APA that are not being placed on such lakes as Lake George?
As to the houses being built on State-owned land, I believe the only ones are the HRBRRD's own field office and the State Campsite Buildings. I have discovered that there are two homes in the Town of Day, that the land was purchased underneath them, and they were given use of those homes for life. What other deals with these homeowners I am not aware of.
Sadly, I must agree with Mr. Mann on one point, and that is that in the past this organization has been very poorly managed, and perhaps even could involve criminality; however, to Mr. LeFebre's credit, a big turnabout has occurred and will hopefully continue.
609 Old State Road
Northville, NY 12134
Phone (518) 863-8194