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Potsdam planning board OKs site plan for hotel developer

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POTSDAM - The village’s Planning Board has accepted the site plan for the proposed Hampton Inn on Market Street.

Amy Franco of Clough Harbor & Associates presented the blueprints for the Hampton Inn to the planning board Thursday night, seeking both an approval of the site plan and approval of a subdivision to combine one .44-acre property parcel and one three-acre parcel.

The board unanimously approved both measures, but added several amendments that developers will need to incorporate into their plans. She’ll then have to check in with Frederick Hanss, director of Planning and Development for Potsdam, so he can ensure they were made, before moving ahead with the project.

The next step is for Ms. Franco to submit an application to the zoning board of appeals because the blueprints call for a structure that is four and a half feet taller than the village’s limit of 40 feet, board member Ted Prahl said.

The plan calls for a three-story, 95-room hotel to be constructed on the current site of Ton’s Sports Bar and Scoopuccino’s.

The cost of the hotel is expected to run between $6 and $7 million and is a project of the Corning-based hotel management company Vision Hotels.

Ms. Franco could not provide a specific timetable for the project. but said she hopes to move ahead as quickly as possible with the plan.

“I think they’re ready to start (construction) pretty much as soon as we can,” Ms. Franco said.

The amendments from the board include walling around the hotel’s parking lot and additions to its storm-water system. Both actions are intended to prevent encroachment on nearby homes on Sisson Street.

Planning board members pointed out that one house, set far back from Sisson Street, is so close to the location of the proposed hotel’s parking lot that they were concerned headlights from cars would shine through the windows of that house.

“Why we’d be concerned about that is obviously because of protection of private property. I think it’s a good idea to put a fence or berm of some kind,” Mr. Hanss said.

Planning board members want Ms. Franco to add a fence, shrubbery or a berm to block car headlights for those homeowners. In the event the developer opts for a fence, the planning board asked that they install a gate along the north end of the fence to allow access for emergency responders.

Ms. Franco’s plan originally called for an underground system that would store storm-water and slowly release it into Market Street, where it would run into the village’s storm-water system. Planning board members wanted Ms. Franco to add a catch-basin to collect storm-water that may naturally run off the parking lot and into the backyards of homeowners on Sisson Street.

The board also looked at the possibility of expanding a small back road that currently connects the Asian Buffet and Mongolian Grill to the Potsdam Shopping Center. Board members wanted to see that road extended to reach Sisson Street in an effort to relieve traffic on Market Street. However, the parking lot of the McDonald’s next door blocks the path for any back road.

Mr. Hanss asked Ms. Franco to reach out to the owner of that McDonald’s to ask if they would be all right with the construction of a back road through their parking lot.

“Talk to McDonald’s. They might think it’s a great idea. It gives guests direct access to their property,” Mr. Hanss said. “(And) if McDonald’s agrees to that back road then that’s something we’d like to see.”

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