WELCOME TO ADK REALTY! Pleased to be your Guide! Specializing in Southern Adirondack Property Home Featured Property Lakes Fulton Co Hamilton County Montgomery Co Land Commercial Sold Buyers Info Sellers Info Contact ADK Blog OPEN HOUSE WELCOME TO ADK REALTY! Pleased to be your Guide! Specializing in Southern Adirondack Property
Information Contributed by Emma Pitkin
Real Estate Regulations in the Adirondack Park Buying land, developing a property, or altering your home can be a complex process but it can be helped by understanding the rules and regulations governing the area in which you want to start a project. The Adirondack Park is a much sought-after location for Americans and visitors and emigrants from across the world but, in order for it to maintain its appeal, there are essential rules and regulations that must be adhered to that govern everything from building an extension or a new property, to cutting down trees.  Understanding these restrictions and regulations will prevent you from making costly mistakes when buying real estate in the area or planning a business move.  You do not want to invest your money only to discover that the plans you have cannot be fulfilled, whether you want to set up home, create a rental property, or start a business.  The regulations surrounding development in the area are designed to protect the unique beauty of the area but they can also restrict where you can build and what you can use your property for. Adhering to these regulations can be a small price to pay, however, for living within America’s biggest publicly-protected area, a region that is larger than the Grand Canyon National Park, Everglades, Yellowstone, and Glacier combined. The Adirondack Park Agency Development on private land is regulated by the Adirondack Park Agency and it may be necessary to have an APA permit before any work begins. It is also possible that more than one permit will be needed, as with any other development in the state of New York. You may require a subdivision or local building permit and permits from agencies such as the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the NYS Department of Health, and NYS Department of Transportation. Federal Agency permits are also essential in some circumstances, especially for projects involving wetlands. It is important to look into the requirements of these agencies, along with your local village or town office, before starting any work. The Classification of Land The APA regulations that apply to any private land development will depend on how the area of land involved is classified under the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan (APLUDP). There are six categories that are each given a color on the map of the Park Plan, which can be viewed on the APA website. A hamlet is colored brown, an area of moderate intensity use is red, low intensity use is indicated by orange, rural use is yellow, resource management is green, and purple is used to define industrial use. These classifications are based on a variety of factors including how the land is currently being used and population trends in the area; limitations placed by the physical environment, such as the soil, elevations, or slopes; and particular features including waterfalls or gorges. There are also biological and public considerations taken into account. The system is designed to ensure that growth is focused on areas that can best support it and regulate development in areas that are less well-suited. The APA encourages development in hamlet areas, which are classed as the Park’s service and growth centers, and it is in these areas where the permit requirements are most relaxed. You will only need a permit here if your project involves certain expansions and uses; erection of a structure or building taller than 40 feet; involves in excess of 100 lots, units or sites; or involves watershed management projects, airports, or wetlands. Hamlet boundaries have been set well beyond the current settlements in order to allow for future expansion. The other categorized areas will often allow most uses but there are guidelines on the concentration of residential development in order that the Park grows in a manner that is sensitive to the environment. This can impact on the size of lots, and expansion plans, in some sectors. In resource management areas, however, most developments will need a permit from the APA as there is a focus on protecting the open, natural character of these parts. It is advisable to thoroughly determine the classification of a particular parcel of land by contacting the APA office. Shoreline Rules and Restrictions There are other factors that may also need to be considered if you are considering a real estate project in the Park, especially if it involves the area’s waterways. The thousands of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams are classed as being some of the Park’s most valuable resources and the APA aims to protect shorelines and water quality. This means that there are regulations relating to lot widths, tree cutting, and setbacks. Shoreline restrictions are applied to every pond and lake, rivers related to the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System, and every other stream and river that can be navigated by boat, even a canoe. The APA regulations on rivers – and the land adjoining them - are accompanied by permit requirements and regulations resulting from the New York State Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act. There can be exceptions to the shoreline restrictions if a landowner can prove to the APA that the application of these regulations would cause them either undue hardship or practical difficulty. A request for variance must be followed by a public hearing. There are generally no regulations governing tree harvesting on parcels of land that are not on a shoreline, unless it involves the clearing of more than three acres of wetland or 25 acres in an upland area, or your property is within a Designated River Area. It should be remembered, however, that if your project requires a permit, no harvesting of trees should begin until the permit has been granted. Sources ‘The Adirondack Park,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://apa.ny.gov/About_Park/index.html. ‘Top Tips to Help You Save When Buying Overseas Property,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://www.money.co.uk/article/1009533-top-tips-to-help-you-save-when-buying-overseas- property.htm. ‘Start Your Own Woodworking Business,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://www.gcwoodworks.com/woodworking-business.htm. ‘Addressing the Needs of Property Owners,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://apa.ny.gov/Property_Owners/index.html. ‘New York State Adirondack Park Agency Flyer,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://apa.ny.gov/Documents/Flyers/StatePermitsInAdks.htm. ‘Permit, License, Registration,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://www.dec.ny.gov/63.html. ‘Permits, Licenses & Certification,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://www.health.ny.gov/permits/. ‘Department of Transportation,’ accessed 31 May 2014, https://www.dot.ny.gov/index?nd=nysdot. ‘Land Use Area Classification,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://apa.ny.gov/Property_Owners/LandUse.html. ‘Adirondack Shorelines,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://apa.ny.gov/Property_Owners/shorelines.html. ‘Adirondack Discount Boat Rentals,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://adkboatrentals.com/index.html. ‘Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Permit Program,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6033.html. ‘Adirondack Tree Surgeons,’ accessed 31 May 2014, http://www.adirondacktreesurgeons.com/.