After months of discussion and deliberation, the North Country Food Co-op’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to sign on to Plattsburgh Citizens Coaltion’s lawsuit against the City of Plattsburgh and Prime Plattsburgh, LLC. As you may know, this lawsuit is an attempt to block the portion of the DRI grant that involves the development of the Durkee Street parking lot by Prime, LLC.
While many of us, individually and collectively, have numerous objections to this project, as a board we are most concerned with the impact of the Prime project on our co-op. We believe that the elimination of parking in the Durkee Street lot, especially without a suitable replacement, will be detrimental to our business and community. The solution at this time regarding the Durkee Street project is to shift parking to the current location of the Glens Falls bank on Margaret Street. We have maintained since the infancy of this project that this plan would carry a high likelihood of harming our co-op as we rely on nearby convenient parking. This becomes even more apparent when considering snow and ice, the elderly and mobility impaired, and those with young children, coupled with carrying groceries and crossing three main downtown roadways.
In addition, parking during the construction phase of this project (estimated to be at least 18 months) would be even more limited and we would have to contend with the inevitable noise, dirt, dust and chaos.
We are also concerned by the sheer mass of the proposed building and the effect it will have on Bridge and Durkee Streets. The attached renderings, created for the Plattsburgh Citizens Coalition, illustrate how huge the proposed building would be.* Imagine how it will affect the natural light in our building. Imagine how imposing it will feel on Durkee and Bridge Streets.
Please know that this decision was not taken lightly. Members of the co-op board and management have reached out to and met with the representatives of the city on several occasions to express our concerns and attempt to offer feedback. Each time we have either been ignored, or assured that our concerns would be considered in the final design and therefore there would be plenty of time to adjust plans to meet our needs.
As we mentioned above, the co-op has been opposed to the direction of this project since early on. Our co-op’s board and management are not against development of the Durkee Street lot in principle. Rather, we believe that smaller-scale development with community support that takes into account the needs of existing businesses would be a more beneficial route; both for current businesses and new ventures.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
North Country Food Co-op Board of Directors
*Note: Prime has reduced the height of the building 5’ or so since these drawings were completed, but we maintain that it will still be overwhelming.