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Plan for Honda dealership takes 90 degree turn toward I-81

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CLAYTON — The Honda dealership planned at the Bradley Street corporate park is expected to take a 90-degree turn, according to a site plan presented Tuesday during the Jefferson County Planning Board’s meeting at the town’s headquarters in the Clayton Opera House.

The 30,000-square-foot building would face Interstate 81, not Bradley Street, according to a last-minute change sought by F.X. Caprara Auto Sales, said Michael B. Lasell, owner of MBL Engineering of Sandy Creek. Mr. Lasell said during the meeting that F.X. Caprara hopes the change, which was made to attract more traffic from I-81 to the business off Bradley Street, will receive final approval Sept. 3 from the town of Pamelia Planning Board. The County Planning Board voted to recommend the site plan for approval after hearing a report about the dealership, which would be built next to the Exit 47 interchange off I-81 at the northern end of the corporate park planned in the town of Pamelia by Purcell Construction Co., Watertown.

“The owner is looking to rotate the building 90 degrees,” Mr. Lasell said, referring to Charles G. Caprara, co-owner of the F.X. Caprara franchise. “It’s a change we want to move forward with at the next town meeting, assuming they won’t require another public hearing and meeting.”

If the Pamelia Planning Board approves the site plan, F.X. Caprara will need only a 30-day traffic impact study to be completed by the state Department of Transportation for the project to move ahead, Mr. Lasell said. Obtaining that approval would allow Purcell to start building water and sewer lines to the parcel this fall, he said. F.X. Caprara will accept bids from contractors this fall for the construction of the building. It plans to open the dealership in March.

Blueprints developed for the building show 421 parking spaces and two entrance/exits: one on Bradley Street and the other off an access road planned at the south end of the parcel for the corporate park. Along with its showroom, the building’s service center calls for 13 bays for vehicles, Mr. Lasell said. He said the structure also will include a smaller upper mezzanine area above the first floor to be used for storage, which will be about one-quarter the size of the first floor.

The dealership will be located across from the Nice N Easy convenience store on Bradley Street, about 330 feet away from the highway exit, Mr. Lasell said. It couldn’t be built closer because a sewer line operated by the Development Authority of the North Country is located to the north.

Purcell, meanwhile, hopes to build a warehouse with access to the CSX rail line off Bradley Street to serve businesses at its 88-acre site.

The Planning Board also reviewed a site plan from Morgan Management, Pittsford, that calls for a 359-unit townhouse complex to the east of County Route 202 that would include a connector to Salmon Run Mall built by the town. The board did not hold a vote on the matter because it didn’t have a six-member quorum needed to do so. Though six of the board’s 11 members were at the meeting, Planning Board Chairman David W. Prosser said he would abstain from voting because of a conflict of interest; he has also reviewed the project as a member of the Watertown Town Council.

Planning Board member Clifford P. Schneider told Morgan President Mark R. Costich he’d like to evaluate a market study completed by the developer that shows demand for housing in the area.

“If there is a market study, I would like them to make it available for us to review,” he said. “We’d very much like to see it before we make a commitment to the town for the project.”

Mr. Costich could not say what kind of market study was completed by Morgan, but he said the developer would be willing to present its findings.

Townhouses “have been doing well across the street,” he said, referring to the developer’s Preserve at Autumn Ridge complex. “And we wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t a study for it.”

The board also approved a site plan proposed by Lundy Funeral Home, Carthage, to convert a former animal hospital at 31291 Town Line Road, town of Philadelphia, into a funeral home called Northridge Cremation Chapel. The business is owned by Cullen D. Lundy.

The board also heard a report on village and town projects from Kristi P. Dippel, administrative officer of the Clayton Local Development Corp.

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