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Ogdensburg considers zoning changes

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OGDENSBURG — Due to an omission — or an assumption — the city has allowed bars to operate in areas zoned for industrial use.

The City Council is considering an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow bars and taverns to operate within industrial areas in the city.

The city charter doesn’t permit bars and taverns in industrial zones, but at least one nightclub — the now-defunct Bone Shakers at 113 Lake St. — previously operated in violation of the zoning statute.

Andrea L. Smith, the city’s planning and development director, said the omission was noticed while the Planning Board was reviewing Ogdensburg’s code.

“We’ve been reviewing the code for a year now,” she said. “In reviewing it, there was a little bit of a discrepancy about things that were and were not allowed within a district.”

Small portions of the city retain industrial zoning: an area owned by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority near the Port of Ogdensburg, another area west of Jefferson Street and portions of the city’s Marina District.

“In the Marina District, we have some industrial-zoned property where we’re looking to encourage that type of development,” Ms. Smith said.

The Marina District, bounded by the Oswegatchie and St. Lawrence rivers, is a target for redevelopment. Recent proposals from consultants hired by the city have envisioned a new arts and entertainment district rising out of the ashes of Ogdensburg’s industrial past — but other parts of town could be affected by the change, Ms. Smith said.

“The port is looking at options for how to develop some of their properties, and some of it may require disposition,” she said. “If that were the case, we feel some of their property is suitable for this kind of development.”

The council set a public hearing on the proposed changes for 7 p.m. March 25 during its regular meeting, with a vote likely to follow.

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