PLATTSBURGH — Champlain Centre received approval of a modified sketch site plan for the Target store it plans to bring to the mall.But Champlain Centre has been asked to present information to show it is not harming federally protected wetlands that border the property.
The wetlands near the mall are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Town Planning Assistant Philip Von Bargen said at a meeting Tuesday night.Attorney Cathi Radner of Miller, Mannix, Schachner and Hafner LLC said the Corps of Engineers needs to flag the nearby wetlands to see if Champlain Centre needs a permit for the proposed project.She said the mall clearly borders federal wetlands."There has been no SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) since 1998. Nobody has taken a hard look at those wetlands since 1998."Radner was there on behalf of Plattsgrow LLC, which owns property in the Hammond Lane area."We're hoping to have someone take a step back and look at what's there," she said Wednesday.Kim Copenhaver of Copeland Environmental was also there on behalf of Plattsgrow. Her company provides regulatory consulting on wetlands and waterways."My client wants to make sure Pyramid is doing its due diligence," she said Wednesday.She said runoff from the property is also an issue, as wastewater standards have improved since the mall was built in 1987.The Planning Board is going to continue as lead agency in determining what type of environmental review is necessary, with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Town of Plattsburgh Zoning Board listed as involved agencies."It's commendable the Planning Board is coordinating with the DEC and asking for documentation (about the effects on nearby wetlands)," Copenhaver said.
Radner said her client is also concerned about traffic at the exit 37 intersection with Route 3, as well as the Tom Miller Road intersections that lead to the mall.Radner said Champlain Centre should provide a traffic-impact study as part of the approval process.
Robert Sweeney of Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna LLP was at the meeting on behalf of Champlain Centre. He told the Planning Board the company has all the information that was being requested."It's an appropriate request, and we'll give them everything they're looking for," he said after the meeting.That information would delineate the wetlands surrounding the property and what has been done to avoid infringing on them."We've had a consultant out there. We are up to date," Sweeney said. "We will comply with everything we have to with regards to the law to complete this project."
He requested a joint meeting with the Planning Board and Zoning Board, which will be held May 8.Mall General Manager David Napolitan said they asked for the special meeting to speed the approval process."Target only opens stores on three days throughout the whole year," he said. "We're trying to meet time frames for a July (2008) opening."There will be another public hearing concerning the project, but a date has not yet been set.The project also needs additional Planning Board approval and several variances from the Zoning Board.