Captain’s Cove owner looks to take down current store and build a new one

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 November 2021 at 12:56 pm

George Lacey planning several upgrades at site along Oak Orchard River

File photo by Tom Rivers: George Lacey is shown in May 2017 in the former store at Captain’s Cove. The building was emptied and torn down after being flooded from the high waters.

CARLTON – The owner of Captain’s Cove wants to demolish a building that is currently used for a store and replace it with a 60-by-40-foot pole barn that would be set farther away from Route 18.

George Lacey, owner of Captain’s Cove since 2015, said the project would make it safer for customers who wouldn’t be so close to the road and would also provide more parking.

Captain’s Cove used to have the store down by the Oak Orchard River but that building was flooded and badly damaged in 2017 when the water levels were at all-time highs. Lacey took down that building and raised the parking area by the river. He relocated the store to a house that is more than a century old on the upper bank.

The former house isn’t well suited to be the store, Lacey told the Orleans County Planning Board last week.

“It makes no sense to put more money into it,” he said.

Lacey has applied for funding through the Lake Ontario Business Resiliency Program. In addition to the new pole barn for the store, Lacey wants to replace fixed docks with floating docks, elevate the utilities by relocating, and fix destroyed blacktop and ramp and add a fuel station in the parking lot for boats.

He has applied to the Town of Carlton for a use variance, site plan review and special use permit for the pole barn and to relocate the store to that new structure.

Planning Board members said Lacey needed more details in his application to show the project meets the threshold for getting a variance, that the hardship wasn’t self created and the project would be an improvement to the neighborhood. Lacey needs to show an “unnecessary hardship exists” to warrant the variance.

County Legislator Ken DeRoller said the need for a variance is clear. Lacey’s property was inundated from the high waters in 2017, through no fault of the business owner.

That flooding forced him to tear down the original store and relocate it on the upper bank, in a building not intended to be used as a store.

“There have been unusual conditions with the high water and an old building,” DeRoller said. “It would be a hardship to renovate it and bring up to specs.”

Lacey said he would update the application to state the impact from the high waters in 2017 and 2019, and would explain the benefits of the project for the community.

The Planning Board said it expects it will give its support to the project during next month’s meeting when Lacey submits an application with more information.

Lacey said he is very optimistic about the Point Breeze area. He said his lodging at his motel has seen increased demand the past two years.

His planned upgrades at Captain’s Cove would bring more people to the community, he said.

“It would improve the area,” he said. “It will improve the county and the town.”