JOHNSTOWN - A majority of Town Planning Board members present at a meeting Tuesday voted to approve a plan to divide the former Ruby & Quiri building into four separate commercial spaces, which means the building on Elmwood Avenue could soon become home to a new Chinese restaurant.
The board voted 3-2 to approve the proposal, though two members were absent. A majority vote of four or more is required to officially approve any resolution, and County Senior Planner Sean Geraghty said since board members are required to take action on the plan by Thursday-30 days after a public hearing was conducted on the matter-he believed the town's code stipulated the project would receive a default approval.
Town Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Fagan said he would look into the town code to see whether the project will, in fact, receive a default approval. The Planning Board will not meet before Thursday, so it will not be able to take further official action on the matter.
The main space is 5,063 square feet and is being used by Jeffrey Lehner for his NAPA Auto Parts Store. Geraghty has said the other two office spaces, in addition to a Chinese restaurant, are now occupied by Enviro-Smart Roofing Services and M & M Printing. Lehner owns the property.
Board members were divided on whether the project would cause congestion problems in an area where there are 27 parking spaces for several buildings.
"I think we already have a bad traffic situation, and this only exacerbates that situation," said Chairman Mark Tanner.
Tanner said he would support the project only if it involved the three businesses and not the restaurant. He said he feared the restaurant, which would feature takeout, would create additional traffic problems in the area near Boulevard Elementary School.
Others said the establishment, which would have six tables, would not make the traffic on Elmwood too much worse.
"I can't see where adding customers ... is going to overflow the place," board member Ernest Niforos said. "We've got to do what we can to support the town and the businesses."
After the board voted 3-2 to support the resolution, Tanner offered another resolution that would have approved the project for the three businesses and would have excluded the Chinese restaurant plan from that approval. It was voted down by the same margin.
In other business, the board held a public hearing on a proposed six-lot subdivision on Johnson Avenue Extension. Five of the six lots are planned to be on one side of the road, while one will be on the other side.
That one lot has access to a water line, but in order to get the water line to the other five lots, workers will need to cut through shale underneath the road. That could mean trenches would need to be dug, which could result in a large expense for property owners at the subdivision.
The board has 62 days to resolve the issue and come to a decision on the matter.
Zach Subar covers rural Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org