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.”