Residents stood near the property proposed to house an RV park in a residential neighborhood to show their united opposition to the project.
Town of Plattsburgh residents don’t want drunks wandering onto their property.
They’re worried about being robbed by strangers, they don’t want loud parties at all hours of the night, pollution turns them off, dangerous traffic situations are unwanted, they disapprove of littering, and they don’t need the values of their homes to plummet.
And that, according to more than 125 people, is why they don’t want an RV — recreational vehicle — park plopped in the middle of their residential neighborhood.
“This project impacts me,” said Paul Cole. “We are 500 feet from the proposed RV camp that they are trying to put in a residential area.
“I think it will change the face of our neighborhood forever.”
Mark Varin is seeking a use variance to construct a 32-unit RV park campground on 4.5 acres of an 83-acre piece of property at 1733-1739 Route 3, in a residential district in the Town of Plattsburgh.
Part of the property once hosted a trailer park, which was closed by its owners in 2007 under pressure from the Health Department.
Varin does not own the property, though he does have a contract that includes purchasing it if he is approved to develop his proposal.
The RV Park would incorporate town water with a septic system constructed on site.
The project has not been approved yet, and part of that process would entail an environmental review and the issuance of a use variance, since the property is only zoned for residential use.
At a recent Plattsburgh Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, Varin’s attorney, Tom Murnane, said his client is concerned about how the park would be operated and maintained. As a result, Murnane said, Varin drafted rules for the camp, which is being touted as an upscale RV park.
“This will be an RV park,” Murnane said. “It will not be a campground. It is not for tents or that kind of thing.”
The RV park would be priced to only attract individuals who wanted to be there, the said. Varin is not targeting a lower-end RV park, Murnane stressed.
It was described as seasonal, operating roughly six months out of the year, and would not create a transient population. That statement was at odds with many residents at the meeting, who said at a Planning Board meeting the property was described as something for transients.
Murnane said a city police officer would work on the management team to help ensure the RV park does not create a problem for its neighbors.
“If a neighbor comes over and has a problem, we want to address that,” Murnane said.
The property would also include a buffer or screening for the benefit of adjacent properties.
Murnane contended the property should be issued a variance because it is unique, consisting of 83 acres, of which only a small portion can be developed. The property has been on the market for three years with “no feelers,” he said.
But several residents who live near the property contended that it is not unique and there is no hardship. The market is down, and that is why it has not been sold. If anything, they said, the owners should be seeking to have their assessment lowered.
So far, more than 125 residents that live around and near the property have signed a petition requesting that Varin not be granted a variance to construct the RV park in a residential area. Many of those residents wrote letters to town of Plattsburgh officials and attended at least two town meetings at which the proposal was discussed.
“The only time we can get peace and quiet in the neighborhood is at night when traffic dies down, and that is about when an RV park gets noisy,” said Mike Malek. “There will be an increase in accidents with large, lumbering RVs pulling out of a wooded area.
“The only thing that will benefit is Mr. Varin’s bank account.”
Malek suggested Varin develop the park near his own lakefront property.
Chris DeLutis said he and other parents are worried about drinking, loud noise and traffic.
Cole was outraged over the proposal to develop an RV park in the middle of his residential neighborhood and thought Murnane’s comment that campers will follow rules was “absurd.”
“They go camping to get away from the rules.”
Cole said Varin doesn’t get it because to him it is simply about making money.
Plattsburgh Town Councilor Tom Wood does not live in the area that would be affected by Varin’s development, but he said the town has a set of regulations and zoning in place that he would like to see enforced.
“If we continue to set variances, we are setting a dangerous precedent of changing the whole character of neighborhoods.”