Petition seeks to stymie Plattsburgh project

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) Group of Plattsburgh residents are continuing their fight to stop the proposed Durkee lot development project, something city leaders say would be a big mistake.

A petition on Change.org shows more than 1,200 signatures opposing the project and the group Concerned Plattsburgh Citizens also collected 500 handwritten signatures downtown to stop Prime Companies from developing market-rate apartments on the largest parking lot in the city.

"We do need off-street parking, we need parking to assist downtown businesses that is the draw to downtown," said Christina Nori, who opposes the project. "They just think in terms of, if you build it they will come..."

Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read says if the city doesn't develop the Durkee Street lot it would have to give back the $10 million awarded to the city from the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative. "This isn't money given to the city and they can spend it as they wish," he said.

The petition came up at the Common Council meeting last week and was a topic of discussion on this week's "Monday's with the Mayor" on WIRY radio. The mayor on-air pointed out problems with the petition -- like not all signees live in the city or the state. He also said that while 1,700 signatures sounds like a lot, it doesn't compare to the number of constituents the council members speak for.

"I think democracy works well. We elect our elected officials to make very difficult decisions for us. Petitions can't really substitute for democracy," Read said.

Nori, who also called into the radio show, insists that the petition is an indication of disapproval for the project.

"I don't think they are doing a good job representing us. I think if they did care they would put more effort into taking our voice into consideration," Nori said.

Click here for the city's DRI and Durkee Street Development information.