For the second time this year, the plans to redevelop one of Plattsburgh’s downtown parking lots have changed. Those new plans, and the way the Common Council is handling them, are both drawing criticism.
Thursday evening, the council unanimously approved an amended version of those plans for a $22 million redevelopment of the Durkee Street parking lot.
The plans had featured two separate buildings. Those two have now been combined into a single, U-shaped structure. The design now includes 114 apartments instead of 139, as well as 10,000 square feet of commercial and retail space instead of 13,000.
Some residents accuse the Common Council of not giving the public a chance to offer input until after it’s already made a binding decision.
“Don’t you think it’s problematic that you have now voted, not having seen what it’s going to look like, out of pure faith that this company is going to do a good job? Where is the public input into your decision-making process? Because from where we’re sitting, we’re not seeing it,” Sylvie Boudreau said.
Some aspects would remain the same. Durkee Street would still shift from a two-way street to one-way traffic, and the Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market building would still be demolished.
One opponent asked the council members if they had even read the Downtown Revitalization Initiative guidelines governing the project.
“One acre of open green space — that’s nearly one-third of the entire lot — as well as one-for-one replacement of public parking that’s being lost,” Danielle Erb said. “When you compare the current plans to the guidelines that were actually laid out by the DRI, they are not within the guidelines at all.”
A member of the Plattsburgh Parking Advisory Committee expressed similar sentiments while she publicly resigned from that group.
“It’s clear to me the DRI has been hijacked by the mayor and the city council, and steered away from the public good and toward private gain,” Amber Desjardin said.
The plans still need permitting approval. The Clinton County Planning Board, the city Planning Board, the city Zoning Board or some combination of all three also need to look them over.
Officials with the developer, Prime Companies, have told us that if the project clears those hurdles, construction should start next April.