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Village sets hearing on St. Joseph’s rezoning

March 2, 2012
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - The village Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing March 13 on a local law that would rezone land owned by St. Joseph's Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers for its proposed community residence for veterans suffering from substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.

St. Joseph's initially asked the village to rezone a 3-acre parcel it owns off of Kiwassa Road, which is currently zoned for residential use only, to match the zoning of the center's main 27-acre property. The organization plans to build a two-story, 25-bed, 10,000-square-foot dormitory on the site using roughly $2 million in state funding.

But residents who live near the parcel said the zoning change, and the uses and activities associated with the project, would impact the character and property values of their neighborhood.

Article Photos

This map shows a revised rezoning plan for St. Joseph’s Treatment and Recovery Centers’ proposed 25-bed veterans community residence. Kiwassa Road runs along the bottom and right side of the map.
(Image — North Woods Engineering)

St. Joseph's then revised its plan and is now proposing to rezone approximately half, or 1.53 acres, of the parcel. Part of the building, its parking lot and access road would be located on that western half of the property. The other half of the property would remain zoned residential and would serve as a permanent buffer, ranging in width from 100 feet to more than 200 feet, between the dormitory and the four closest homes.

"St. Joseph's has responded in a timely, creative and sensitive way to the real concerns of the neighbors and worked with them and village officials to craft a viable win-win solution to preserve the integrity of the St. Joseph's Veterans Community Residence Program that does not come at the expense of its neighbors," St. Joseph's CEO Bob Ross wrote in Feb. 15 letter to village Planning Board Chairwoman Leslie Karasin.

At its meeting that same day, the planning board recommended the village board approve the revised rezoning request, subject to several conditions. Those conditions are listed under the proposed local law trustees will be asked to consider following the public hearing on March 13. As part of the conditions, St. Joseph's will have to do the following:

Fact Box

If you go...


What: Public hearing on rezoning land owned by St. Joseph's Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers for a residence for veterans suffering from addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder

When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13

Where: Village board room, second floor, Harrietstown Town Hall, Saranac Lake

Go through the site plan review process and get a special use permit for the project from the planning board.

Secure rights to a paper street on the property over which part of the building would be constructed.

Permanently dedicate the "buffer zone" on the eastern portion of the property.

Waive any additional building rights on the property.

In a Feb. 29 staff memo to the village board, Community Development Director Jeremy Evans recommended approval of the local law, subject to those conditions. He described the revised proposal from St. Joseph's as a "compromise that benefits all affected parties.

"It is the director's opinion that conditional approval provides the village adequate protection to move forward with the rezoning request even though not all site plan details have been submitted," Evans wrote.



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