MASSENA — The St. Lawrence County Planning Board has given conditioned approval to a site plan for a proposed Water Street brew pub, but had concerns about meeting the parking requirements in the area.
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.
“It’s a pretty neat project. It includes a restaurant on the first floor, two residences on the second floor and, in the basement, a micro-brewery that’s being proposed,” St. Lawrence County Planning Office Deputy Director Jason Pfotenhauer said.
However, he said, parking was a concern. The restaurant will be able to seat nearly 150 people — 118 restaurant seats and 30 additional bar seats — and village parking standards recommend one parking space for every four seats. He said the seating capacity would make the restaurant one of the biggest in St. Lawrence County.
“Parking quantity is where it gets a little tricky. We have 13 parking spaces provided. If you pencil out the requirement, one space for four seats, you have a need for 37 spaces. Thirty-seven is a bit of a jump, so what can we do to address this parking?” Mr. Pfotenhauer said.
“It is not possible to address all the parking needs that are required for this restaurant on-site because of the size of it, so the applicant has gone off-site to address some of the parking needs. Off-site is unique. It’s identified in the village code as something that’s permissible as long as it’s within 200 feet of the parcel,” he said.
One of the potential solutions was to add additional parking on the site.
“We have a grass area on the existing site that is being proposed to be used for parking, but it’s only two accessible parking spaces there. There is the opportunity there to add additional parking on this site. There is also an opportunity to work out an arrangement with the adjacent landowner if possible to use some of this parking space if that is amenable to the adjacent landowner,” Mr. Pfotenhauer said.
“There’s a lot of parking around for the applicant to get to the requirement of 37 spaces. I think what needs to be done is some creative negotiating between the developer and the surrounding landowners to ensure parking can be accommodated, or use what’s already on-site to get closer to 37 spaces,” he said.
Identifying more parking was one of the conditions set by the Planning Board in their conditioned approval of the site plan.
Some board members said another concern could be pedestrian traffic along Water Street — “some kind of pedestrian control, at least to guide people where to walk — as they exited the building to get to their parking spot. That will also need to be addressed by the developer as part of the conditioned approval.
“Certainly it’s a pretty neat project in the downtown core of the village of Massena. It would be wonderful to see this type of development. We wish them all the success in the world. We want to obviously see it happen. But let’s see what we can do to make sure the code is adhered to and followed,” Mr. Pfotenhauer said.