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Lawsuit affects Tupper Lake's economy

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Lawsuit affects Tupper Lake's economy
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The development of a new multi-million dollar resort has been put on hold for the community of Tupper Lake now that environmental groups are suing the APA and DEC for supporting it. But the lawsuit isn't just holding back the resort's developer. As our Cara Thomas reports, business owners in Tupper Lake say it's affecting everyone.

TUPPER LAKE, N.Y. --John and Angie Gullen moved to Tupper Lake to begin a new chapter of their lives with the hopes of opening a store of their own, selling hunting gear, fishing gear and other outdoor sports equipment. The plan was to renovate and open in June, but a lawsuit regarding a new area resort put everything on hold.

John Gullen said, "Our investor kind of got a little nervous and has decided to hold off until things settle down."

The lawsuit is against the APA and DEC after they approved the development of a multi-million dollar resort in Tupper Lake, a project that's bigger than anything the Adirondacks has seen before. But two environmental groups and some private landowners felt that the way the resort was designed, it could damage the Adirondacks environmentally.

Bob Glennon from "Protect the Adirondacks!" said, "We're against the procedure that led to this resort. We're against the agency cutting corners, slanting everything in the developer's favor and ignoring the advice of its own hearing and executive staff that the record was inadequate."

Many community members in Tupper Lake saw the resort as a way to economically improve their town. They say the resort would have brought more tourists and businesses to the area. But now that the resort’s progress is on hold, the entire town of Tupper Lake is at an economic stand still. As of now, only one out of 22 businesses still plan to open in the area.

Jim LaValley, the Chairman of ARISE, said, "Our honest answer was at this point, we really cannot plan a thing because we don't know what the future holds as long as this Article 78 is hanging over our heads."

But the lawsuit could go away. One environmental group says if a wildlife study is completed and the layout of the resort is reconfigured, they'd support the project. But until then, the future of the resort and the businesses it could bring with it are up in the air.

Angie Gullen says, "Tupper Lake is going to be a booming economy once again but it's just going to be a little delayed because of a few people. But we're going to keep our chins up and we'll be okay."

The lawsuit is currently pending and it could take years to resolve.

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