Though Small in Numbers, Adirondack/Champlain Valley REALTORS® Is Making an Outsized Impact on Regional Development

Though Small in Numbers, Adirondack/Champlain Valley REALTORS® Is Making an Outsized Impact on Regional Development

July 2024

Over the past two years, the Adirondack/Champlain Valley REALTORS® has leveraged strategic support from the REALTOR® Party to position Plattsburgh, New York as a locale attractive to business, residents, and particularly, developers.  With multiple Smart Growth Grants, the 460-member board is helping the city of 20,000 to become a model of Smart Growth planning and preparation.  In the process, the initiative has forged strong partnerships with city officials and opened doors to further partnerships.

Association Executive Michael Coughlin first encountered the concept of Smart Growth almost two decades ago on a visit to Atlanta and was immediately taken with the movement’s practical creativity.  Back in upstate New York, he saw that the principles could be applied locally: “The Town of Plattsburgh has massive demand and potential for a diverse array of mixed-use development and walkable neighborhoods that generate revenue, provide services, accommodate our housing needs, and meet our energy goals, right in the heart of Town Center.  What we needed were the right tools to educate and attract developers to invest in our area.  We turned to the REALTOR® Party for help in delivering the information to the greater development community, rather than wait and hope that they come to us.”

The effort to encourage and facilitate smart growth development in Plattsburgh’s Town Center was made by the entire board, led by Andrew Castine, the REALTORS®’ Political Advocacy Coordinator, with the constant support of Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Mike Cashman, says Coughlin.

REALTOR® Party Smart Growth Grants at varying levels helped to fund each of three stages of the extended project:  a day of Smart Growth education to help REALTOR® members, local politicians, Chamber of Commerce members and other key stakeholders become advocates for Smart Growth development; a data-gathering phase aided by the Clinton County Economic Development Department; and the creation of a colorful and engaging Smart Growth Developer’s Guide by an independent marketing firm.

The sixteen-page guide, produced both digitally and in print, is targeted to the region’s development community, including contractors, bankers, and housing advocates.  It was unveiled to great enthusiasm at an event headlined by NAR’s Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun, and attended by stakeholders, local officials, a state senator, an assemblyman on the Budget Committee, and, of course, REALTORS®.  There was a lot of excitement, and everyone seemed to want to be as involved as possible,” says Coughlin.  “It’s still early on, but the response has been very encouraging!”

In a significant development, he notes, town leadership is now expressing a determination to address its infrastructure obstacles, prior to any potential construction phase.  “They’re looking at various ways to solve the problems and fund the solutions so the town of Plattsburgh can be ready for the Smart Growth it wants to attract; this is why it’s important to have the legislators on board, because they’re the ones who are able to act on the progress we need.”

Meanwhile, he says, the Adirondack/Champlain Valley REALTORS® will continue to spread the word.  “We’re a little board, but what we’re doing is big.”  In fact, the current board has just grown substantially, the result of a 2023 merger of the Clinton Board of REALTORS® and the Northern Adirondack Board of REALTORS®.  “We are grateful to NAR for making the opportunity possible!”

To learn more about how the Adirondack/Champlain Valley REALTORS® are the driving force of Smart Growth in their region, contact AE Michael Coughlin at or 518.561.8777.  To see the developer’s guide the REALTORS® created for the Town of Plattsburgh, visit:

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