JOHNSTOWN - Permit holders on the Great Sacandaga Lake are concerned proposed changes in the permit system are confusing and could cause property values to decrease dramatically.
Permit holders turned out in force for Tuesday's meeting of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District Board of Directors to voice their concerns about a proposed resolution that would make it easier for the district to change the amount of shoreline assigned to some permits.
Northampton resident Guy Poulin said any change in boundaries for permit holders would be unfair.
Peter Byron, president of the Great Sacandaga Lake Association, asks questions at a meeting of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District board on Tuesday.
The Leader-Herald/John R. Becker
"Fair would not be losing 49 feet of my permit and giving it to my neighbors," he said, referring to a regulating district decision he's appealed.
The resolution states that all parties must "reasonably agree" before any changes are made, but permit holder Peter VanAvery asked what "reasonably agree" means.
"The previous language said nothing was going to happen unless all parties agree," VanAvery said. "Now all parties must 'reasonably agree.' What does that mean? What is reasonable for Jack is likely to be unreasonable for Jill."
Peter Byron, president of the Great Sacandaga Lake Association, agreed the language was vague. He posed a series of questions to the board.
"Continue past practices? What are they?" he asked. "Could they be listed? Who makes the judgment? What redress do permit holders have? What does 'reasonably agree' mean? Don't we either agree or disagree?"
Executive Director Michael A. Clark said the existing system is inconsistent.
"It affects the entire access system. The reason it's before the board now is that it relates to an appeal that is still pending,"
Poulin asked for clarification on the appeal process. He said he got no response from Clark to questions he asked in January.
Under the district's appeal process, the board's chief engineer hears the appeal first, followed by the area administrator, the executive director, and the full board. Poulin appealed to Clark, who at the time was the Hudson area administrator. Clark told Poulin he should appeal to Richard Ferrara, the board's chief fiscal officer, since Clark already has heard it.
Poulin said he wanted his appeal heard the next time the board meets in Mayfield, which will be in July. The board's June meeting will be in Inlet, Hamilton County.
Board chairman David W. Berkstresser asked what the timeline was for the appeal process.
"The issue has been out there for many years," Clark said. "The current appeal goes back six months. It was denied by the chief engineer and the Hudson River area administrator."