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June 11, 2013

Plan approved to store explosives at former Air Base

PLATTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania-based company has received permission to move forward with plans to store explosives and ammunition on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.

The Town of Plattsburgh Planning Board has approved Paramount Enterprise International’s proposal to use up to 13 of the 15 former weapons storage bunkers for that purpose, similar to what the Air Force used the site for while it was in Plattsburgh. 



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The firm also plans to use a nearby warehouse for loading and unloading explosives before and after storage and will install one or two commercial construction trailers for offices.

Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corp. Director of Construction and Engineering Kristy Dantes and Aaron Ovios of Robert M. Sutherland PC provided additional details about the plan.

“Paramount wants to be completely open with what’s going on,” Dantes said.

FIVE BUNKERS AT FIRST

The initial use calls for storage of TNT, she said, but Paramount is licensed to transport and store other types of explosives and ammunition.

Ovios said the applicant plans to use five bunkers to start. The amount and type of material in each bunker determines how much distance must be maintained between each one and the closest bunker and inhabited structures.

The only inhabited structure in the immediate vicinity is the Nomad Airstream Building to the northwest, which is outside the approximately 2,000-foot buffer required for the planned use.

Based on that separation and because only five bunkers that are not adjacent to each other would initially be used, regulations allow for up to 275,000 pounds of explosives in each bunker. 

INSPECTIONS REQUIRED

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the New York State Department of Labor have jurisdiction over such facilities in New York, Ovios said. 

Those agencies will have to inspect and approve the facility once renovations and repairs are complete.

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