Massena officials suggest zoning code changes

William and Susan Fiacco, owners of the investment firm GoCo Ventures LLC, are turning what was formerly the Old Mill at 38 Water St. into a micro-brewery in the basement, restaurant and bar on the first floor and two two-bedroom apartments on the second floor. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Village of Massena officials will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 18 to take comments on revisions to the village’s zoning code, which would allow micro-breweries, brew pubs, tap rooms, micro-wineries and micro-distilleries in a Central Business District.

The current permitted uses after site plan review are amusements, banks, business offices, convenience services, drinking establishments, hotels, professional offices, retail services, retail stores, restaurants and day care centers.

The changes would also add the five new categories in Commercial Transition Districts and Commercial Auto-Related Districts.

“As we go through our code book and commercial zoning, I think it’s time to do a little updating on this. As we look at other river communities, they have some good opportunities in them to establish micro-breweries, brew pubs, tap rooms, micro-wineries and micro-distilleries,” Code Enforcement Officer Aaron Hardy told trustees.

He said business owners “do enough jumping through hoops to open businesses and small businesses,” and it would make it easier if the new permitted uses were added and the business owners received site plan approval from the village’s Planning Board.

“That way, it takes one less step out of what they have to go through. Right now, if someone were to open up something like this in our community, they’d have to go through the Zoning Board first,” Mr. Hardy said.

“I think if you look at places like Clayton and the Finger Lakes, even some of the local micro-breweries that are around the area today, I think they would be a good addition to our community, I think it would be good for tourism in our community and I’d like to see us make this a little easier on the business owners,” he said.

Allowing micro-breweries in a Central Business District was one of the recommendations from the St. Lawrence County Planning Board in June when they gave conditioned approval to a restaurant, micro-brewery and residences that are being constructed at 38 Water St.

William and Susan Fiacco, owners of the investment firm GoCo Ventures LLC, are turning what was formerly the Old Mill at 38 Water St. into a micro-brewery in the basement, restaurant and bar on the first floor and two two-bedroom apartments on the second floor.

The footprint of the building will be expanded by about 920 square feet to accommodate the micro-brewery, and a new deck will be built behind the building.

“Drinking establishments, restaurants and apartments above the first floor are permitted in the CBD zoning district. Neither drinking establishments nor restaurants are defined in the village zoning code,” which made it difficult to determine if village officials would consider a micro-brewery a component of either use, St. Lawrence County Planning Office Deputy Director Jason Pfotenhauer said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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