Massena village officials update zoning code to include micro-breweries, other businesses

MASSENA — Micro-breweries, brew pubs, tap rooms, micro-wineries and micro-distilleries are now permissible in the village’s Central Business District, Central Transition District and Central Auto-Related District under zoning changes approved by village trustees.

Drinking establishments are also permissible in areas zoned Central Business District and Central Auto-Related District.

Code Enforcement Officer Aaron Hardy said the changes were made, in part, to make it easier for individuals to set up those types of establishments with site plan approval from the village’s Planning Board, rather than also needing a variance from the Zoning Board.

He told trustees in July that business owners “do enough jumping through hoops to open businesses and small businesses,” and it would make it easier on anyone planning to open a business.

“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 it makes sense,” Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire 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.

Prior to the change, the permitted establishments in the Central Business District after site plan review were amusements, banks, business offices, convenience services, drinking establishments, hotels, professional offices, retail services, retail stores, restaurants, day care centers, banks and apartments above the first floor of a commercial building.

Allowable establishments in the Commercial Transition District after site plan approval were bed-and-breakfast/tourist home, bus terminals, business offices, convenience services, convenience stores, funeral home, gasoline stations, health care facility, hotel, motel, newspaper/publishing, professional offices, radio-television studios, residential uses, restaurants, retail services, retail stores, rooming houses, social/fraternal organizations, day care center, banks and apartments above the first floor of a commercial building.

Animal hospitals, auto parts sales and installation, bed-and-breakfast/tourist home, car wash, convenience services, convenience stores, gasoline stations, health care facilities, hotels, laundry and dry cleaning establishments and plants, motels, motor vehicle sales, motor vehicle repair shops to include body shops, professional buildings, car or truck rental/leasing, retail store complexes were permissible in a Commercial Auto-Related District after site plan review.

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