Less than a month after presenting revised Durkee Street redevelopment plans, the developer was back before the Plattsburgh Common Council with a new set of plans Thursday night.
Plattsburgh common councilors reviewed new revised plans for the redevelopment of the Durkee Street parking lot, a 3.4-acre site that is a key part of the city’s $10 million Downtown Redevelopment Initiative grant.
McFarland Johnson is the civil engineering firm working with developer Prime Companies of Cohoes. Senior Engineer Turner Bradford said this new design is based on feedback from the May 23rd presentation. “So with an eye on parking, access to green space and the architectural aesthetic the main thing we did was combine the two buildings and move it to the north. That opened up where the southern building was for a surface parking lot. Without the building on the south we were able to open it up for a little more green space and a little more openness.”
Councilors appeared pleased with the new design as summarized by Ward 4 Independent/Republican Peter Ensel. “I applaud Prime and also you Turner and McFarland Johnson for really changing the project in regard to and listening to public comment and input that was provided by everyone. I think when you look at this conception compared to some of the previous ones it’s amazing the difference and that you have certainly addressed I think a lot of the concerns that the public has.”
Both before and after the presentation a number of residents panned redevelopment plans. Amber Desjardins is an advocate for the disabled. “All I have seen is that where money is things happen regardless of public opinion. I’ve sat in numerous city council meetings where I have just shook my head. It’s clear to me that the DRI has been hijacked by the Mayor and city council and steered away from the public good and toward private gain. Sidewalks are being removed and made into parking lots. People in my position are going to have a very hard time getting around or avoid downtown as I already know many do. Words cannot express the disappointment that I feel in Mayor Read and the city Common Council with respect to their handling of the DRI projects.”
“My name is Sylvie Beaudreau. I think you guys know me. I’m from the History Department here at Plattsburgh State University. When was the new revised plan posted on your web page? 24 hours ago?”
Ward 3 Democrat Elizabeth Gibbs: “This isn’t a question and answer session.”
Beaudreau: “My point being that the DRI process as per the DRI handbook calls for inclusivity in their decision making process and what I’m seeing here is a council that has a decision made where the public does not have the right to comment until the decision is made. Where is the public input into your decision making process?”
Ward 5 Democrat Patrick McFarlin responded that the action taken by the council is one part of the process. “This just is passing it on to the planning board. There’s a lot of process still to go on this project.”
The Plattsburgh Common Council unanimously approved the revised preliminary plan subject to permitting and zoning requirements and environmental review.