Village of Massena officials refining guidelines for building renovations in downtown core

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MASSENA — Village of Massena officials are refining guidelines for building renovations in the downtown core to ensure uniformity throughout the area.

During this week’s Massena Village Board meeting, Mayor Timmy J. Currier updated trustees on the different guidelines that building owners in the downtown core will be asked to follow, although they could request a waiver if they are unable to meet those guidelines.

“There’s been a lot of discussion for several years on this. Primarily, the foundation for these proposals came out of a 2012 proposal that was developed by InSite Architects and the Massena Downtown Coalition, which was essentially overseen by the Business Development Corporation,” he said.

Mr. Currier, along with Trustee Matthew J. LeBire, a downtown business owner, the code enforcement officer and a member of the Planning Commission, recently began reviewing the document again.

“We’re looking to create policies that detail the recommendations that can be used for development of properties in the downtown core,” he said.

The downtown core has been identified as the portion of Main Street from Water Street to West Orvis Street, Church Street, a portion of Water Street, Phillips Street and Glenn Street.

The document contains examples of areas such as materials that can be used for renovations, what storefronts should look like, the type of lighting that is encouraged, what the building should look like from the street and what types of colors are recommended.

“There would be a palette that we would encourage people to use instead of using colors that don’t align with the historical feeling of downtown,” Mr. Currier said.

The group also discussed the types of gutters that can be used and where they should be down-spouted, and came up with recommendations for windows and displays. He said that, for upper floor windows, they’re encouraging building owners to restore the original openings whenever possible, and also suggested what types of windows should be used.

The document also addresses indoor and outdoor signage, including its size and how it should be lit, what types of materials to use for awnings if they’re part of the building, and street elements. The street elements would address areas such as restaurants not using plastic lawn furniture outside.

“They have to use something more durable,” Mr. Currier said.

Although there were recommendations, he said there was a “workaround” for building owners in the proposed district. If they’re unable to meet the requirements, they can meet with the Planning Commission to seek a waiver.

Trustee Timothy J. Ahlfeld said the document covered the necessary areas that needed to be addressed.

“The good thing about this is people can hold it in their hand or look at it online and can’t say, ‘I didn’t know that or I didn’t know what the requirements were.’ A lot of work went into it. You guys did a good job,” he said.

Village officials will hold a public hearing on the document at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 21.

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