TL;DR

- The DRI addressed many areas of development in the city, not just Durkee St.

- I've been vocally opposed to the city's approach to this project as well as the look and feel of the proposed project.

- We need a plan that builds on what we've learned from this project - and I have one!

What is the DRI?

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) is a competitive NYS economic development grant program that awards emerging downtowns upwards of $10m towards "transformational" development projects.

In July 2016, the City of Plattsburgh was one of the first 10 cities to be awarded $10m to implement our DRI proposal.

The award funded multiple concurrent projects which included: 

  • Money for streetscape improvements

  • Storefront facade improvements

  • Innovation space

  • Commercial kitchen and food hub

  • Second/third floor residential renovations

  • Marketing and other smaller localized project 

  • Development of the Durkee St. parking lot

For many of us, this award seemed like a turning point our community had been waiting for and deserved.

Our Position

This project in currently in the hands of the City of Plattsburgh Zoning and Planning Boards. These independent boards and the developer will ultimately decide the fate of the project moving forward.

As a County Legislator and Mayoral Candidate I do not have a direct say in how this project proceeds. However, I have and will continue to leverage what influence I have to lobby the zoning and planning boards, the developer, and other stakeholders to do the right thing consistent with our current laws and community desires.

Since launching my campaign I have been unequivocal in my belief that:

  • The current design proposal is a mismatch for our downtown. Our community made it clear with the Durkee Street Reimagined proposal that we want development that fits our downtown and enhances our waterfront.

  • We have a limited amount of land that can be developed in our city. Therefore, it is critical that any development must be planned in a smart, reasonable, and responsible way.

  • Any tax abatement or PILOT agreements needs to be completely in line with the guidelines of those programs without special dispensation or deviations.

  • I support the proper and responsible development of the Durkee street parking lot as well as support the development of much needed housing in our city and county. But again, it needs to be a fit for our community and downtown.

  • The lack of community inclusion and oftentimes outright disenfranchisement of community voices was inappropriate and can never happen again.

  • Everyone who develops in the city, regardless of project size or investment, needs to be held to the same standards and the same laws.

Our Plan

Learning from our past is the best way to make our community stronger and more resilient. Platitudes and admonishment can go but so far. The goal of our administration would be to foster and ensure community driven economic development through action. This goal not only fulfills our need for investment and growth, but also includes our community in a responsible and meaningful way.

  • Create a Plan B.
    We need a Plan B. An alternative plan that leverages local developer expertise, local economic development experts, and state partners. Short of having a back-up plan, it will be difficult to secure the original money dedicated to this project. I've been actively working towards this in discussion with community partners.

  • We will completely revise our zoning and planning laws and include the community in redefining them.
    These laws are the foundation for how the city will develop and grow and are currently outdated. As it stands today, there is a small group of people making revisions to these laws - this needs to be a more inclusive process. (Source: 2013 Community and Economic Development Plan)

  • Develop a clear criteria for RFP response times and response criteria based on the size and scope of the project.
    Each RFP is unique and should also have unique requirements. The RFP response time for a small paving project is different than the response time for a full-scale multi-story development. These timelines should be commensurate with the project size, scope, and complexity and agreed upon and communicated before the RFP is sent out.

  • ​Define and enact community protections for large-scale development projects when pre-defined requirements aren't met.
    For example, if only one response for a large scale development RFP is received or a project leverages public benefits a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) will be required to ensure the project fulfills the mutual benefit of our community and the developer/investor.​

  • ​Create and appoint a community impact committee for RFPs that have the potential to leverage public incentives.
    Tax abatement, PILOT agreements, $1 land sales, bonds, and long term land leases are economic development tools that when used appropriately will attract and grow our city. However, they need to be used sparingly and responsibly. When these tools are used we will create a public committee that will solicit community feedback. That feedback will be provided in an unabridged report to elected officials, municipal leaders, and our community. This report will then be used to determine project changes and updates to ensure community benefit.

  • Create an updated comprehensive city-wide master plan.
    Much like I called for in 2013, we need a comprehensive master plan that documents our development goals, targeted areas of growth, and infrastructure needs throughout the City of Plattsburgh. This plan needs to involve community members and stakeholders.

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© 2020 by Rosenquest for Plattsburgh