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Joint Zoning Board of Appeals sets public hearing for Carthage church addition

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WEST CARTHAGE — The River Area Council of Government Zoning Board of Appeals has set a public hearing on the New Hope Christian Church’s application to build a 9,700-square-foot church and multicultural center for 7:30 p.m. on April 2.

Matthew R. Morgia, civil engineer for Aubertine and Currier, Watertown, on March 5 presented the application for an area variance to the board.

He said the multicultural center was planned to add to the two structures already on the 6.5 acre property at 32500 State Route 3. It was noted the Champion Town Council has reviewed the plans and stands behind the project, recommending the variance be granted.

While the proposed structure exceeds the 5,000-square-foot limit, town Planning Board Chairman Peter J. LaBarge said that limit was meant to control commerce; that size restriction was meant to limit businesses from moving in and disrupting the mix of residential and commercial property.

“We didn’t intend it to apply to a church,” Mr. LaBarge said, noting the church could also be considered a community center.

Board of Appeals chair Tina Kight questioned the parking and buffering planned for the construction project.

Mr. LaBarge said it was all considered.

“It’s a very good project. They (Aubertine and Currier) read the zoning very well and put their plans together very well,” Mr. LaBarge said.

“We may like the project but the neighbors might not,” Ms. Kight said when the public hearing was scheduled.

The ZBA also reviewed an application for an area variance for property on Alexandria Street submitted by the Carthage Industrial Development Corp. The lot width is only 66 feet and zoning requires 80 feet. The lot is one of six on the former Braman site that are being considered for development by the Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity for low-income housing.

“The lot is isolated from the rest of the property,” CIDC member John F. McHugh said. “There is no way to tie it in — otherwise the piece of property has no purpose. The 66 feet is common to the area. The width is comparable to adjacent lots.”

A hearing on the variance is also slated for April 2.

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