PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh councilors rejected both proposals for a marina at the city waterfront, for now.
“I am little disappointed we don’t have some action, at this point, but hopefully we can get something going at some point soon,” Mayor James Calnon said following Thursday night’s meeting.
For the past year, the city has been considering proposals from Nav Tours, a Canadian and local company now operating as Nav Marine Management, and Plattsburgh Boat Basin, the operator of a marina and the Naked Turtle next to the city’s property at the Dock Street landing.
Both proposals had included boat moorings and docks with slips, a restaurant and other marine-related water and land activities.
The city wanted to enter a 15-year deal with whichever company was chosen.
Some councilors, however, felt that 15 years may be too long a deal to lock in.
“Fifteen years is a long time for the city to be captured by that kind of arrangement,” Councilor Becky Kasper (D-Ward 5) said.
Kasper said she felt more discussion about potential waterfront plans should be held to get additional public input and also to consider the possibility of the city running its own marina.
Councilor Rachelle Armstrong (D-Ward 1) also was concerned about the 15-year provision and wondered if it could be changed.
City Corporation Counsel John Clute explained that 15 years is a normal time period for a business to recoup its investment in such a project. He also said the length of a deal really doesn’t matter.
“That (marina) is the only use for that property,” Clute said.
Councilor Josh Kretser (D-Ward 6) said he felt more discussions should have been held with the Town of Plattsburgh, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and other entities outside the city about the project because it will affect the entire region, not just the city.
“I think a better plan could be developed that we could put forth in the near future,” Kretser said.
Councilor Dale Dowdle (R-Ward 3) said he was concerned about how a marina development could affect the many large fishing tournaments that are held on Lake Champlain each year.
Councilor Michael Kelly (D-Ward 2) said he felt there were still more ideas to be explored.
“There are a lot of good ideas from the public that are not in the proposals, and therefore I am having a hard time getting behind either one,” Kelly said.
Councilor Paul “Crusher” O’Connell (D-Ward 3) said he also was concerned about the impact on fishing tournaments.
“But I would like to see something done this year,” he said.
Only Dowdle supported the Nav Marine plan, and only O’Connell supported the Plattsburgh Boat Basin plan.
Representatives from both companies were disappointed.
“I understand it’s a lot for a new council to take on because it will have such a big impact on the city,” Matt Spiegel of Plattsburgh Boat Basin said.
“We will keep trying, and we want only what is best for the city.”
Yanik Aube of Nav Marine said they, too, will keep trying.
“It’s disappointing because we have put a lot of work into this the past year, and we were hoping for a positive outcome tonight,” Aube, said.
Calnon said the council will continue discussing the marina concept. He added that some work could still possibly be done this summer, as far as boat moorings, if the city can choose a developer. But a full-blown marina plan will probably have to wait until 2015.
“There are still so many variables to discuss,” he said.
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