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Great Bend church plans new building

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GREAT BEND — The City of Refuge Christian Church of Northern New York has plans to construct a new church next to its existing one on Route 3 in the hamlet.

The Jefferson County Planning Board heard Thursday that the church is planning a 9,700-square-foot building on a vacant parcel immediately adjacent to its 4,000-square-foot church, which was built in 1993 by former pastor, the Rev. John W. Jordan.

The church’s current pastor, the Rev. John E. Swearinger, could not be reached for additional comment Thursday, but the church has apparently outgrown its present space, with the new building including seating for 300 people, a sanctuary, a classroom, offices and other amenities. The building will be served by 80 parking spaces.

The matter was brought before the county board because the construction will require an area variance, as the “hamlet” district allows only for a 5,000-square-foot building.

The board determined that the proposed project is of local concern only and returned the issue to the town of Champion Planning Board to consider granting the variance.

In other business, the board heard about a request for a height variance for a proposed three-story mixed-use building on Riverside Drive in Clayton. The property’s owner, James B. Cumming, Atlanta, first proposed the project in 2010 for 419 Riverside Drive, site of the former Golden Anchor Restaurant.

Senior Planner Michael J. Bourcy told the board that the owner is proposing a restaurant and retail space on the building’s street level, with eight apartments on the upper two floors, which is a similar use to that proposed in 2010.

Mr. Bourcy said the issue is that the building is about 2 feet taller than is allowed in the village’s downtown district, requiring a variance, but said the height of the building “isn’t really out of character” with several others in the district.

“This isn’t going to be a three-story structure among a bunch of one-story structures. It’ll fit in,” he said.

The board determined that this project was also of local concern only, and sent it back to the Clayton Planning Board.

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