Planners for the Town of Plattsburgh held a “community social” last night to present preliminary concept plans for redevelopment of a large tract of the town’s commercial center. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was there.
The Town of Plattsburgh totals about 25,400 acres. A new development plan called Elevate Plattsburgh is focused on the commercial center of the town – an area of about 2,000 acres between Route 3 and the Tom Miller Road.
The roads are parallel, and most development is commercial, concentrated along the edges of the streets. There is a vast amount of empty or privately owned land between the two roads that officials are eyeing for a comprehensive Smart Growth plan. Planners and town officials invited the public to a “community social” at a local pizzeria within the project area – promising free pizza – Thursday night to view preliminary plans and get input. The Chazen Companies’ Senior Planner Paul Cummings explained different scenarios for a long-term plan. “You’ve seen around the room a draft concept plan. I want to stress draft. But certainly tonight is about hearing your thoughts. Think of this as a mini-plan update for the broader Route 3 corridor. And when I say the broader greater Route 3 corridor we’re really talking about Tom Miller Road, areas south of the old airport, you know sort of that area where we think is prime for development. There’s interest in development. And there’s a lot of decision making that needs to happen now to make sure that 25, 50, heck even 100 years from now you did it right.”
Cummings says the town can take advantage of a number of opportunities to create a Smart Growth plan for residential and commercial development. “It’s not unique in that hey look this isn’t the only commercial highway corridor that we could look at and infill develop and improve. What is unique is the amount of open area that is still available for all the housing options that they want to explore, the parks, open space, recreation and that’s unique and also all the jobs that are nearby, all the new industry and development that’s happened. And have that all in this one little tight area joining an existing urban downtown like the city of Plattsburgh that’s pretty unique.”
Town Supervisor Michael Cashman says the “Elevate Plattsburgh” plan has been in the works for over a year. “It’s building upon previous plans that the Town of Plattsburgh has adopted. Nearly 40 or 50 years ago our community was the first community in Clinton Country to have a comprehensive land use plan. So we’re building off of that. We’re building off of our economic development plan. We’re seeing historic subdivisions in the Town of Plattsburgh right now. We need more housing stock. So let’s not just say while we’re doing it yeah we’re doing it but we need more. How do we get there? How do we get the infrastructure? How do we encourage people to build the types of housing that we need from affordable to you know some of the higher end inventory that people are looking for.”
Town of Plattsburgh resident Forrest Studebaker came to the meeting because he wanted to see if Elevate Plattsburgh is actually a viable long-term plan. “I didn’t expect something this broad. I’m actually very impressed with the breadth and the length they’re looking at. I think in the time frame they’re talking about and the scale they’re talking about, the type of development, it’s very much the future that they ought to be looking at.”