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Proposed building draws attention to misprint in Clayton height ordinance

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CLAYTON – A new commercial and residential building may be going up next to the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel.

Municipal officials said they hope the new building will add to the experience of the Clayton Riverwalk by bringing a restaurant, retail store and 12 condominiums to the St. Lawrence riverfront.

The proposed 20,000- square-foot building will be constructed at 428 Riverside Drive, the site of the former Golden Anchor restaurant. The facility will be built along the Riverwalk.

Though the building will not be finished for some time, joint town/village Planning Board Chairman Roland A. “Bud” Baril said it will add to the community’s vision for the Clayton Riverwalk and Frink Park’s potential.

The Riverwalk will be built along the St. Lawrence, winding in front of the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel, a 105-room luxury hotel scheduled to open this summer. The Riverwalk will be open to the public and include public dock spaces and a bathhouse.

“The building will match the historical integrity of the village,” said Brian A. Jones, an architect with Aubertine and Currier, Watertown. Mr. Jones said keeping the river views was a priority for the architects. All condominiums will have a view of the river.

The retail space, which will be at street level, will have windows around the building to provide a river view for anyone walking along the street. A brew pub will be on the lower level and will have access to the Riverwalk.

The brew pub and the retail space will have a modern interior with exposed metal and clean lines, Mr. Jones said. The condominiums, available as a loft or two-bedroom, will be designed individually by the future owners.

“They can choose how to lay out their condos,” Mr. Jones said. “They can be as modern or contemporary as they want.”

None of the spaces had been rented or purchased as of Wednesday, but Mr. Jones said inquiries have been received.

Property owner James B. Cumming will develop the building once designs are approved.

The new business and residential building will be the newest building project of the Kingston, Ontario, native’s 19 other commercial and residential properties in the Clayton area. Mr. Cumming’s list of properties include homes on Comfort Island and buildings where businesses such as The Scoop, St. Lawrence River Dogs and Karla’s Christmas Shop operate.

Lance L. Peterson, who manages Mr. Cumming’s properties, said though Mr. Cummings primarily resides in Atlanta, GA., he continues to invest in the Clayton community because of his love for the riverfront town.

The property’s proposed height brought to the attention of the Planning Board, which addresses both town and village issues, an oversight in a village variance for how to measure structures. Though the proposed building is 31 inches taller than the maximum height allowed, Mr. Baril said, he expects plans to be approved at the next meeting March 6.

“We want to have it here in Clayton,” he said. “The reason the plans needed to be reviewed was because of a misprint in the town ordinance.”

The ordinance, which dictates new buildings must not exceed a height of 45 feet, did not include a clause saying the height should be measured from the street and not from the river.

The variance application was put before the Jefferson County Planning Board, which ultimately decided it was a local issue during its meeting Monday and sent it back to the Planning Board. Mr. Baril said he doesn’t anticipate any problems with approving the building.

“We have a lot of buildings that wouldn’t meet that,” Mr. Baril said. “But if you measure this structure from the street, the building will only be 45 feet tall and a little over 47 on the river side.”

Mr. Baril said the board plans to amend the item in the code to eliminate confusion in the future.

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