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Massena Village Planning Board dissects County recommendations, approves Tim Hortons

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MASSENA - The prospect of a Tim Hortons restaurant coming to Massena is closer to a reality after the village’s Planning Board approved the project with various stipulations.

Project Manager Marcelo Araujo, owner Eli Tarbell and engineer Hassan A. Fayad, among others, appeared before the planning board Wednesday evening.

“From what I understand, the St. Lawrence County (Planning Board) made some recommendations and not required changes. So I just wanted to understand the position of the village of Massena before proceeding with any changes in that regard,” Mr. Araujo said.

The proposed location of the bake shop is 232 Main St., the former site of a KFC restaurant.

The new building will be 1,953 square feet with a drive-through and 39 parking spots.

Representatives of the Tarbell Management Group were at both planning board meetings to listen to the 11 recommendations made by the county’s Planning Board.

The St. Lawrence County Planning Board approved the Tarbell Management Group’s project two weeks ago under the 11 conditions.

Conditions included reducing the number of parking spaces from 39 to 29, snow storages areas being identified on the site plan, a solid fence being constructed along the western lot line, and the Main Street entrance being made one-way, with traffic exiting on Garvin Avenue.

“We anticipate this project to be of high volume, which will generate (many) new employment opportunities for the area of Massena. We anticipate to have a first and second shift, which will be in the day time and we anticipate to have about 10 employees,” Mr. Araujo said. “So if we go with the county recommendation to reduce to 29 and we occupy 10 spots for employees only, that leaves available to our customers only 19 spots, and I think that is not wise.”

Mr. Araujo noted that management is projecting the restaurant to be of sizeable volume and bring in up to $40,000 per week.

With regards to a snow storage area being identified, after discussion, the planning board suggested to the group that an area be identified. The management group obliged.

After a thorough overview of the recommendations, planning board Chairman Frank Hutt decided that the board should go through each one and decide to approve it or not.

“I tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to review the county reply, and I want to find out where we stand on each one of them,” Mr. Hutt said. “The number of parking spots be reduced from 39 to 29; seven places along Garvin Ave and three spaces at the northwest corner of the site plan be eliminated. We’re going to leave that alone and stay with 39.”

Overall, the planning board agreed with just three of the county’s suggestions. Recommendations regarding the lighting on site being downcast and Dark Sky compliant, a construction of a solid fence, and the drive-through menu being moved slightly were agreed upon by the board.

“The drive-through menu board be moved east toward the building to allow for the accommodation of four vehicles in the drive-through lane,” Mr. Hutt said.

“A drive-through with Tim Hortons, it has to meet a certain criteria that has to do with time during your pre-ordering of a meal,” Mr. Araujo replied.

The management group will return next week with an updated drawing of their site plan.

The motion for approval of the site plan with the stipulations was made by board member Brian Schafer and unanimously approved.

“We’re going to have a meeting with the Tim Hortons construction manager next week, and we’re going to establish a schedule. ... Then we’ll be moving full steam with demolition, and if the board grants me my building permit, we’re going to put the shovel in the ground,” Mr. Araujoa. “When we break ground, usually it takes anywhere between 12 and 16 weeks. So we’re thinking that in about 16 or 17 weeks, weather depending, we should be open.”

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