I read with interest a letter in the Feb. 19 edition of the Daily Courier-Observer regarding growth and development in the village of Potsdam.
For the record, Potsdam Hotel Associates LLC proposes to develop and construct a 95-room hotel on property owned by local businessman Jim Sheehan and located on Market Street within the village of Potsdam. Potsdam Hotel Associates submitted an application for site plan review and area variance that is necessary to secure the local approvals required for the hotel project to advance.
On Feb. 7, the village Planning Board reviewed and approved the site plan submitted by Potsdam Hotel Associates. The village Planning Board coordinated its review with the St. Lawrence County Planning Board, the Department of Public Works, the Potsdam Fire Department and the village Police Department. On Feb. 14, the village Zoning Board of Appeals held a public hearing on the request to grant an area variance to Potsdam Hotel Associates to allow the applicant to exceed the villages building height restrictions by 4½ feet. The Zoning Board of Appeals will take this application up at its March meeting.
Potsdam Hotel Associates LLC prepared a well thought-out design for the proposed hotel that, with the exception of building height, entirely complied with the villages zoning laws. Because the developer proposed to construct the hotel within the village limits, village services, chiefly water, sanitary and storm sewer, police and fire protection, are all available. The takeaway for the community and potential developers is that the village and its volunteer planning and zoning boards deal with complex development projects in a timely and efficient way if applicants are well prepared.
I have asked many times over the last few weeks if Potsdam will finally see the development of new hotel rooms to generate property and sales tax revenue and support local businesses. My response has been that the villages review is nearly done and that if the area variance is granted, the only remaining requirement will be to issue a building permit. Now that the villages work is nearly complete, the development and construction of the hotel is up to the private sector. The village extends its best wishes to Potsdam Hotel Associates LLC and wishes it all the best with its project.
The writer is director of the village of Potsdam Planning and Development Office.