TO: Batchellerville Bridge Action Committee Members
FROM: Peter VanAvery
DATE: June 6, 2009

CORRECTION: For several weeks, the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District's web site incorrectly listed the location of its June 9, 2009 board meeting, and I didn't catch the error when I passed the information along to you. Fortunately, one of our alert members did.

So please note that the meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the Inlet Town Offices, 160 Route 28 (NOT Route 128), Inlet, NY. This will be our first opportunity to tell the board -- face-to-face -- what we think of its outrageous plan to convert the access permit zone around Great Sacandaga Lake into a public park open 24/7.

Key agenda item: A vote to approve a budget for the District for the fiscal years beginning July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2012. After nine years of trying, the District believes that it has finally nailed down the cost of the access permit system. This will give us our first look at the figure -- if the board chooses to disclose it at this meeting. The board may opt to make us wait until the budget is posted on its web site -- which would give board members time to scamper to safety.

For purposes of comparison: The District's current three-year budget, which expires June 30, 2009, anticipated income of $1,269,000 (or $423,000 a year) from the permit system.

Footnote: I alerted the District about its error in listing the board meeting's location, and they, too, made the correction. I'm still waiting for a thank-you note.

The continuing crisis at Great Sacandaga Lake has infuriated the lake's 5,000 property owners. We are not going to sit by passively while our property values and quality of life are destroyed. Many of you have asked: When are we going to hire a lawyer to protect our rights and where can I send my donation? I believe that you'll have an answer very shortly.

Many of you have sent me copies of your excellent letters to elected officials and agency heads. Keep applying the pressure. Some other options:

The Governor's Office has received so many complaints about DEC's attack on property owners at Great Sacandaga Lake that it has established a special line to handle phone calls: 518-474-8390. Have family members and friends who enjoy visiting you at the lake call, too.

Here's a link to a GSLA petition calling for the Governor and State Legislature to suspend the rulemaking process and meet with the public:

Congressman Paul Tonko says he is eager to support us, but hasn't had any requests for help. Take up his offer: Paul Tonko, 128 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515. Phone (Albany Office): 518-465-0700; e-mail:

If you live in New York outside the Capital District, ask YOUR local members of the NYS Assembly and Senate for help. Our local legislators are fully aboard, but they need back-up.

Here's a link to the members of the NYS Senate Environmental Conservation Committee:

When my wife and I bought our seasonal home in Edinburg in 1968, the District erected a sign on our permit area that read in part: "Notice is hereby given that the exclusive use, subject to the Rules and Regulations of the Board, of this area is granted to (our names)." It's still there.

Also for many decades, the cover letter that the District sent around with annual permit renewal applications had the following sentence: "The Permit affords you exclusive use of a segment of District-administered State land for private access to the waters of Great Sacandaga Lake." Most recently, the letter was signed by a member of the District's top management team: Robert S. Foltan (2008 salary: $90,913).

Based on the wording of these signs and renewal letters, permit holders invested huge sums of money in purchasing and remodeling (or tearing down and rebuilding) lake property.

Suddenly, a couple of years ago, the District dropped the "exclusive use" wording from new and replacement signs. Beginning 2008, "exclusive use" was removed from the cover letter. Now the District tells us that the access permit zone should really be a public park. Isn't it a little late in the game for that?

If you still have one of these old signs on your permit area, take a photo of it. Get close enough so that the printing is legible. Tuck the print away along with any copies you've retained of those old permit renewal letters. They may come in handy in case of legal action.

On May 26, I e-mailed the following query to District Executive Director Glenn LaFave:

"The Proposed Rules cover boats moored or docked in the water in front of an access permit area. But many permit holders don't attach their boats to a buoy or a dock -- they simply haul them up onto the shoreline.

"Here are three related questions about the Proposed Rules:

"1) If a permit holder decides not to renew his permit, can he continue to pull up his boat onto the shoreline without penalty?

"2) I believe that about 300 people are on the back-lot waiting list. While they wait for a permit, could they place their boats anywhere along the shore of the access permit zone as long as they can legally access them?

"3) Suppose a boat filled with members of the public approaches my permit area. Can they legally haul up their boat onto the beach while they swim/picnic?"

No response so far.

Two of the seven board members represent the lake community: Ronald Pintuff of Sacandaga Park and Patrick Dugan of Edinburg. Tell them you want the rulemaking process suspended.