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Plattsburgh officials hold meeting on draft update to Comprehensive Master Plan

John Behan leads presentation on Plattsburgh's draft Comprehensive Master Plan revisions
Pat Bradley
John Behan leads presentation on Plattsburgh's draft Comprehensive Master Plan revisions

Plattsburgh officials and consultants held a public meeting Monday night to provide an update on revisions to the city’s Draft Comprehensive Master Plan, which hasn’t been revised since 1999.

The plan is intended to provide the city with a long-term vision to help guide decision making. Developed over the past two years with input from a Community Advisory Committee, the update is being done at the same time the city is revising its Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

Behan Planning and Design is one of the consulting firms assisting with the planning process. Principal and Senior Planner John Behan says the plan and its vision is local, nurtured by the advisory committee.

“It’s really a lot about moving forward and what kind of strategic recommendations are there for action. A good plan is based on your local values. It’s also strategic in that we don’t write laws with the plan. The plan is about writing important recommendations for the different aspects or elements of the city that need attention.”

Behan says the Master Plan’s goal is to create a vibrant, walkable, affordable community using renewable energy resources while preserving culture, historical identity and the natural resources.

“I can’t think of a city that has more world-class assets than Plattsburgh from a natural resources point of view. Between Lake Champlain, Saranac River, Adirondack Mountains, the Green Mountains. And then you look at Burlington, Vermont, Montreal, you have all of Quebec and Canada and you have Manhattan and New York City within striking distance of an easy drive or a boat ride. And so this is a great basis upon which to build a plan.”

Policy guides assess Plattsburgh’s natural and community resources, recreation, arts, culture and history, housing and economic development. Each category has core characteristics such as sustainability, diversity, resilience and vibrancy.

Behan says long term objectives include expanding community resources, strengthening relationships with educational institutions, and preserving historic resources.

“Housing is a big part of the plan. That means looking ahead, planning ahead. The economic development aspects of the plan are focused on natural resources, the assets that you have, as well as the resources of the region.”

First-term Democratic Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest says while there are ongoing initiatives, a long-term, forward thinking plan focuses current city programs.

“It’s a lot better to have a plan with a guideline and a map and something that we can tangibly hold onto and says ‘hey we are on the right track’ versus saying ‘yes we know that we need to do things like this.’ We know that we need to improve parks . We know that we need to get grants and take a much more progressive approach to city government and city growth. But it’s a lot easier when that plan is thought out, there’s an end goal to it and, not to say that what we’re doing doesn’t contribute to that end goal, but at the end of the day once we’ve finished all the parks, what’s next? And that’s what this plan does address.”