PLATTSBURGH — Some neighbors have concerns about the proposed expansion of the Bombardier Transportation facility in the City of Plattsburgh.
Additional details of the planned $25 million plan were presented to the City of Plattsburgh Planning Board this week.
BUILDINGS TO BE RAZED
Aaron Ovios of Robert M. Sutherland PC presented a preliminary site plan for an 87,600-square-foot expansion of the plant. The project would extend from the northern and western sides and be the same height and color as the present building.
The plan involves demolition of four buildings on the north end of the property, where some work is done on railcar components.
A new driveway would be created from Main Mill Street to access new loading docks on the north and west sides of the building, as well as the existing docks on the east side. Ovios said the plan calls for the driveway to be located along the site of existing power lines to reduce how much clearing needs to be done.
At present, all trucks use the eastern entrance from Wall Street, as do employees.
There would be a secure truck gate behind the building. Its location is intended to avoid trucks being backed up on Main Mill Street.
Ernest Gillespie, who lives on Main Mill Street, asked how the plan might affect truck traffic.
Ovios said traffic to the plant could increase from two trucks an hour to three. Those trucks usually run between 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m., he said.
Gillespie later said that any increase of truck traffic is likely to lead to safety issues.
Harold and Laverne Hicks live at 9 Alex Way. Mr. Hicks said they are probably the closest neighbor to the plant.
His concerns center on noise from forklifts and train whistles. The new road is also likely to remove some buffer between his property and the facility, he said.
“We’ve had 10 years of noise you would not believe. You wouldn’t wish this on your worst enemy,” Mr. Hicks said.
Mrs. Hicks said the nearby residents will lose their buffer when the four buildings are destroyed.
She said she and her husband have to keep their windows closed and curtains drawn when they have guests to combat noise and light issues.
Ovios said the assembly work that is done in the outbuildings would be moved into the main facility and e
xpansion, so it would be farther from residences and reduce outdoor forklift traffic.
Planning Board member William Ferris suggested Bombardier go above and beyond to create more effective buffers to help appease neighbors.
Dave Black, director of supply management at the plant, said Bombardier has 410 employees at the facility. That level is likely to stay steady, he said, but depends on the company’s ability to secure contracts.
They needed to expand after the received orders from the Metropolitan Transit Authority and Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority earlier this year, Black said. The company decided to go beyond what was needed for that so it won’t have to expand again if more work comes in.
The Planning Board was named lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review process. The coordinated SEQR review would include the Zoning Board, Plattsburgh Common Council and Empire State Development Corp.
The existing building is 56 feet tall when equipment on top — mainly the crane used to move railcars from station to station — is taken into account. That means the addition requires a height variance from the City Zoning Board of Appeals.
Empire State Development is involved because Bombardier was awarded $2.5 million when the North Country Regional Economic Development Council funding was announced last year.
Bombardier hopes to receive SEQR approval at the September Planning Board meeting and detailed plan approval at the October meeting.
If that happens, demolition of the four buildings would begin in late November or early December.
Construction would follow and be scheduled for completion in late 2013.
Email Dan Heath firstname.lastname@example.org