APA orders immediate halt of operations at Warren County resort site

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RAY BROOK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Adirondack Park Agency has issued a decision in the case of Brampton Lodge, a tourist resort in Warrensburg that the agency says was built without permits starting in 2015.

According to documents sent to News 10 ABC as the result of a Freedom of Information Law request, the APA has ordered the Brampton’s owners, James John McDonald and Jeffery Lee, to shut down operations of the lodge effective immediately and take down several structures that were added in violation of APA permit law, including a yoga deck, camper van, outhouse and others, all of which required similar permits which were never obtained.

Also ordered for removal was an uncompleted structure which work had started on in 2016, also without a permit. The primary lodge building itself was not ordered to be taken down, because a permit application was filed for that building after its construction, with some prodding from the APA.

They have also been ordered to install a wastewater treatment system for one of the buildings currently in use.

In addition to the removal orders, the APA also determined a civil penalty of $438,000 with 20 percent to be paid by March 6. The remaining cost can be suspended if the owners of the Brampton meet the requirements set out in the APA order. Only then will the Brampton be able to go into business once again.

McDonald and Lee appeared before the APA’s Enforcement Committee on Feb. 13. The APA documentation reports that attempts had been made to negotiate with the owners, starting in 2017 after receiving complaints about the lodge’s construction. After APA staff visited the site, they reached out to the owners four times between April 2017 and September 2018.

Written responses from the owners included the permit request for the lodge, as well as a letter from McDonald stating that the structures on one of the two lots of property the Brampton operates on would only be used for “personal use.”

Despite multiple attempts to negotiate with Lee both in person and over the phone, the APA said in the documentation that they were “forced to seek a determination” after exhausting all other options.

It is also detailed that the owners continued to advertise the lodge and adjacent buildings on the property as available for rent during the period of APA investigation, despite statements otherwise by the owners.

Next, Lee and McDonald have 15 days to give notice that reservations at the Brampton have been canceled; that no new reservations will be taken without the APA’s authorization to start operations again; and that all advertizement for the lodge ceases. They have until April 1to remove all signage advertising the lodge; June 1 to remove the permitless structures around the lodge; and July 1 to take down the unfinished structure.

Lee and McDonald’s attorney, Thomas Ulasewicz, Esq., advised the owners to send press inquiries to him. Last week he said he was advising his clients to deny reporters access to the lodge for the time being.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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