Variances approved for new Mazzaferro’s building
ROME — An area variance for window design and a request to reduce the parking stall depth in the parking lot for the new Mazzaferro Meats & Deli were approved by the city Zoning Board of Appeals during its regular meeting Wednesday, Oct. 5.
Construction is underway for a new 7,225 square-foot building with 40 paved off-street parking spaces at the former Mazzaferro’s location, 7824 Ridge Mills Road.
On Friday, April 29, fire was discovered shortly after 1 p.m. at the former longstanding meat market. According to Fire Chief Thomas Iacovissi, the fire was first discovered near the exterior kitchen door on the north side of the building. All employees and customers escaped the building without injury.
Rome Fire Department determined the cause to be accidental.
Matthew Lacey, representing MARCH Associates Architects & Planners, of Utica, spoke on behalf of the project and applicant Brian Mazzaferro.
According to plans for the new building, Mazzaferro was seeking relief from the fenestration design transparency requirements — the design and placement of windows. The design of the transparent fenestration on the new building is below the required 50% surface area on the elevation that fronts Westernville Road.
Lacey said the physical site where the new store is being placed is narrow, with the area to the back side of the property dropping to the canal. He said windows are being provided, and that the design still adheres to the character of the neighborhood.
Zoning Board member Raymond Tucker said the fenestration request is “substantial,” but understood Mazzaferro’s need to reduce the amount of windows to give space for the coolers. The board unanimously approved the area variance.
In seeking to reduce the parking stall depth from 20 to 18 feet, Lacey said it would help improve drainage on the property and give the ability to add green space around the parking area.
Some board members were concerned about limited space and “being able to move around” in the parking lot, but Zoning Board member Jon Maggiolino said because the lot size cannot be increased and there’s a drop-off at the back of the property, plans now would “probably be an improvement to what was there previously.”
The area variance for the minimum parking stall depth was unanimously approved.
In other business:
• A use variance was approved for Davidson Management Group & Davidson Marine of Rome, owner of 5931 Rome-Taberg Road, which is seeking to renovate a 100-foot by 200-foot portion of the existing plaza for an indoor boat storage facility (warehouse). The space is located in the lower one-story portion of the strip mall adjacent to the Runnings store.
Tim Hogan, of Hogan Engineering, P.C., said the Davidsons purchased the west side of the plaza housing Runnings and it “never had a reasonable return.”
“The city lost a couple marine service providers that service boats, so this is different than the Davidson model for cars, car washes and repairs,” Hogan explained. “It will look exactly as it does today. It will still have windows and plenty of parking. ... By purchasing the site they were hoping to expand their dealerships — they have Chevrolet, Ford and GM, but COVID came in and they had to change the whole program. The facility would be for boat service, and the other side is indoor boat storage.”
Zoning Board member Michele Reid said she’d like to see something in that building and that it be utilized again. Other board members said with the proximity of Lake Delta and Oneida Lake, “it would be a good fit there.” The use
variance for the warehouse was then unanimously approved.
There was also a second use variance request because a boat and marine repair and service facility is listed as a non-permitted use in a C2 district. Because of reasons for approving the first use variance, board members agreed that the project met requirements and the second variance was unanimously approved.
• A special use variance was requested by A&L Storage, LLC with Hogan representing this project as well, for construction of self-storage units on Bateux Place, as self storage units are listed as a special use in a C2 District. Hogan explained that the storage units would be located in an empty lot near Fuji’s Restaurant. He said there would be plenty of traffic space and the facility would have access to the future Davidson’s boat storage and repair. Having the storage facility there would also add value to the empty lot, Hogan added.
Maggiolino said, “It seems like a good fit for the space.”
“With everything around it, and the new apartments going up downtown and it having limited visibility from the roadway, I approve,” said Zoning Board member James DiCastro. Reid agreed that there was a desire and need for such facilities in the city. The special use variance as then unanimously approved.
As for an area variance for the landscaping plan for A&L Storage, the owner was seeking to eliminate landscaping and screening completely. Reid asked if that was to save money or for safety concerns, and Hogan replied, “Both.”
While DiCastro and Zoning Board Chairman John Sorbello voted to approve the area variance, Reid, Tucker and Maggiolino voted against. Members who voted against the variance said there should be some kind of buffering and screening on the Runnings side of the property, and adding vegetation would also help with drainage.
Tucker said to eliminate the screening requirement “is not in character with the neighborhood.”
The proposed project will now appear before the city Planning Board.
• A request for an area variance by Delores Anderson, owner of 6960 Rome-Oriskany Road, to construct a 10-foot by 20-foot addition to the eastern side of the existing house, to be used for storage, was unanimously approved.
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