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SPC Attorney Selection Process

The Sacandaga Protection Committee was formed to provide legal representation to the lake community as a result of the DEC’s draconian revisions to the HRBRRD’s proposed rules which were accepted by the District without discussion or modification.     

A legal search committee was formed from volunteers comprised of three attorneys, an engineer, a telecommunications company business owner, a retired NYS Public Service Commission utility analyst, and a retired civil engineer from the NYS Canal Corporation to interview law firms and attorneys and then make a recommendation to the entire Sacandaga Protection Committee.  After an initial screening process, seven law firms with specific experience in environmental law, land planning and development and complex litigation including litigation against the State were interviewed. 

As a result of that process the SPC retained Hodgson Russ LLP.  Headquarted in Buffalo, with offices throughout the State including Albany and Saratoga, Hodgson Russ is one of the oldest law firms in the United States. Former Hodgson Russ attorneys include Presidents Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland.  It is one of the 200 largest law firms in the United States with over 200 attorneys providing service to clients in virtually all major areas of U.S. law.  The firm has substantial experience in representing individual property rights before state and federal agencies in all administrative and judicial forums.  The firm also is experienced in working with agencies and the state legislature in support of regulations and legislation supporting interests of their clients.  

The SPC team at Hodgson Russ is headed by Partner Daniel Spitzer.  Formerly a finance director for a sizeable city in Arizona, Dan practices in the areas of municipal law, land use, renewable energy and related fields.  His litigation experience includes renewable energy projects, including the first NY appellate decision involving greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste facilities, tax assessment matters, land use issues, state and federal constitutional claims and other issues before administrative and judicial forums. He assists developers and communities in development projects including obtaining financial assistance and complying with historic preservation guidelines. He is well versed in the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act and has guided many communities through the environmental review process. He also counsels clients on historic preservation issues, condemnation, creation of water and sewer districts and grant writing, among other matters.  He is a frequent author and speaker on these subjects.  He recently drafted the inaugural chapter on municipal annexation for the fourth edition of New York Zoning Law and Practice, published by West in 2009. He serves as the Chair of the Green Development Committee of the New York State Bar Association Municipal Law Committee.  

Dan is especially familiar with our area and the unique governing regulatory structure.  He served for six years on the Board of the Lake George Land Conservancy.  He has represented municipalities and individuals around Great Sacandaga Lake and across the Adirondack Park on a diverse range of matters including solid waste disposal, real property taxation, environmental compliance, APA site classification, mining and other land use issues.  He was actively involved in the recent effort to prevent a re-allocation of HRBRRD permit fees in a manner detrimental to SPC members.  Dan represents clients seeking approvals from the DEC and APA.  He frequently represents clients in disputes with the DEC.  Dan has a strong record supporting home rule in land use matters; he has, for example, successfully defended municipal denials of projects approved by the DEC all the way through the New York Court of Appeals.