Economic Development

Starting or Expanding a Business in Potsdam

The Potsdam Planning and Development Office is a one-stop shop for planning and zoning as well as economic development. Whether your business start-up or an expansion requires the perfect location, financing, technical support, or help moving your project through the local zoning approval process, the Planning and Development Office is here to help. Contact Planning and Development Director, Frederick Hanss at or (315) 265-1670.

Business Support Services

The Potsdam Chamber of Commerce is the Planning and Development Office’s economic development long-time partner. The Chamber sponsors a wide range of seasonal promotions, technical support and educational programs for its members and the community. Contact Megan Mulvenna, Executive Director of the Potsdam Chamber at or at (315) 274-9000.

Business Start-up, Expansion, or Relocation Financing

Through its lending partner, the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), the Village of Potsdam can provide businesses wishing to locate or expand within the community with debt financing products. Using Village resources, the AEDC can tailor debt financing to meet your needs, including:

  • Micro-enterprise loans to businesses with five or fewer employees, including the owner. The maximum loan is $25,000 at 3% interest with a 60-month term.
  • Small business loans through the Potsdam Growth Fund. The Growth Fund can provide up to $125,000 in debt financing at 3% interest and a negotiable repayment term.

The Planning and Development Office often partners with other regional economic development organizations and commercial lenders to help finance start-up, expansion, or relocation deals including:

  • The Development Authority of the North Country /
  • The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency/
  • The North Country Alliance /

For more information on business financing, contact Frederick Hanss, Director of Planning and Development or Steven Garneau, Small Business Support Specialist at or (518) 891-5523, ext. 103.

Downtown Revitalization Initiative

Potsdam was fortunate to be selected as the 2019 recipient of the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative or DRI grant.  A portion of the DRI grant is being used to provide businesses moving to, or expanding within downtown Potsdam with a short-term rental assistance grant to facilitate opening a new location within a defined downtown Focus Area.  Additionally, DRI funds may also be used to repair or rehabilitate existing commercial or mixed-use buildings within the DRI Focus Area.  For more information contact Frederick Hanss.

Business & Entrepreneurial Training Services

The Planning and Development Office strongly encourages businesses, especially start-up firms, to consult with one of the region’s local business consulting organizations for technical assistance in preparing or refining a business or strategic plan before applying for public/private debt financing. These organizations include:

  • The SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center:  Jennifer McCluskey, Business Advisor at or (315) 386-7312.
  • The Adirondack Economic Development Corporation: Steven Garneau, Small Business Support Specialist at: or (518) 891-5523, ext. 103.

Location, Location, Location

Potsdam is blessed with a variety of retail commercial, light industrial, and industrial sites that will meet your unique needs, and budget. Follow these links for more information:

  • St. Lawrence County Board of Realtor’s Multiple Listing Service:

Follow this link to the Planning and Development Office’s listing of available land and commercial properties.

Potsdam owns a shovel-ready light industrial and business park located on Pioneer Drive (off Elm Street/State Highway 11B).  The park offers sites for green field development featuring underground three-phase power, natural gas, underground CATV and fiber as well as municipal water and sewer services.   Typical building lots are 2 ½ acres in size.  Contact Frederick Hanss for more information.

Labor and Employment

Potsdam is known for having a highly educated workforce. The 2020 US Census of Population reported that 89% of Village residents had graduated from 12th grade and that 45% had earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree.  The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency’s website is an excellent source of information on the local labor market, follow this link –

The St. Lawrence County One Stop Career Center is a significant resource for firms wishing to hire qualified employees. The Center provides a wide range of employment benefits including on-the-job training programs, training wage subsidies, and customized training programs. Contact the One-Stop-Career Center at or at (315) 386-3277.

Both Clarkson University and SUNY Potsdam can provide qualified student interns to undertake short-term projects. For more information, please contact the Planning and Development Office.

Traffic Counts

U.S. Highway 11 and State Highways 11B and Route 56 are the major transportation corridors serving the Village of Potsdam and the wider North Country. Traffic counts for these roadways are as follows:

  • State Highway 56/Market Street north to the Village line: 14,638 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
  • State Highway 56/Market Street at Sandstone Drive: 5,512 AADT
  • State Highway 56/Main Street: 5,996 AADT
  • U.S. Highway 11 South/Maple Street: 9,727 AADT
  • U.S. Highway11/Lawrence Avenue: 2,879 AADT
  • State Highway 11B/Elm Street: 3,554 AADT

Zoning Regulations

The Village of Potsdam has adopted a zoning code that protects the property rights of residents, corporate taxpayers, and advances orderly and well thought-out development of land and buildings.  The Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals are board appointed to assist the community in the implementation of its zoning code.

The Village Planning Board is comprised of five voting and two alternate members who are responsible for reviewing proposed developments to ensure compliance with requirements found in §180 of the Village Code. Planning Board reviews include:

  • Site Plan Review (preliminary review prior to application and formal review after application)
  • Special Use Permits
  • Sub-Division Review
  • Sign Permits

The Village Planning Board’s annual meeting schedule and §180 of the Village zoning code can be downloaded from the Village’ website or by contacting Lisa Thompson, Village Code Enforcement Officer at  or (315) 265-7678.

The Village Zoning Board of Appeals is a quasi-judicial body with five voting and two alternate members whose tasks include considering requests for variances and interpreting zoning codes. Its jurisdiction is appellate only. The Zoning Board of Appeals considers applications for:

  • Area Variances
  • Uses Variances

The Zoning Board of Appeal’s annual meeting schedule, §180 of the Village zoning code, and appeals application forms can be downloaded from the Village’s website or by contacting the Code Enforcement Officer.

Code Enforcement

The Code Enforcement Office administers the NYS Building Code, the Property Maintenance Code, and Village zoning laws. Contact the Code Enforcement Officer, Lisa Thompson, at or (315) 265-7678.

Municipal Services and Infrastructure That Supports Commercial Development

The Village of Potsdam provides both municipal water and sewer service. Sufficient capacity exists within the systems to meet the needs of current and future commercial service connections. For more information on water and sewer capacity, contact the contact the Superintendent of Public Works, Gregory Tompson, at or at (315) 265-7480.

Village Police, Fire Department, and Rescue Squad

The Village of Potsdam protects the health, safety, and welfare of its residents through the provision of a full-time police department, fire, and rescue squad services. The Potsdam Village Police Department is accredited by the NYS Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. The Department includes the chief, lieutenant, 8 full-time police officers and 4 dispatchers. For more information on the Department contact Police Chief Michael Ames at or (315) 265-2121.

The Village Fire Department provides paid fire drivers with fire protection provided by a group of highly dedicated volunteer firefighters. The Potsdam Fire Department apparatus line-up includes three engines, one tanker, two rescue trucks, and an 85-foot tower truck. For more information, contact Chief Timothy Jerome at or at (315) 265-3312. The Village Rescue Squad is staffed by an advanced life support staff person and has forty local members. The Squad has an ambulance, a first responder vehicle, and a rescue boat.

Business and Professional Services

The following firms may be able to assist you as you consider establishing a new business or expanding and existing one within the Village.


  • Nikki Coates & Associates: (315) 265-4303
  • Plumley Real Estate: (315) 265-6720 https: //
  • Sandstone Realty: (315) 265-2111


  • Cappello & Cappello, P.C., Attorneys at Law (315) 265-2747
  • Silver & Collins (315) 265-2264


  • John Parcell – certified public accountant, (315) 265-5222
  • Pinto, Mucenski, Hooper and Van House & Co. PC, (315) 265-6080

Insurance Agencies

  • Allstate Insurance, (315) 265-2600
  • McFadden- Deir, Leonard (315) 265-4230
  • Nationwide Insurance (315) 265-2140
  • Northern Insurance Agency, Inc. (315) 769-2404
  • Potsdam Insurance (315) 265-9650
  • Rose & Keirnan, (315) 265-2341
  • State Farm (315) 268-9000

Architects and Engineering Firms

  • Renew Architecture, (315) 262-0082 /

Personnel and Staffing Agencies