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Planning board reviews coffee shop plan

The Gloversville Planning Board on Tuesday reviewed a site plan application from the Micropolis Development Group seeking to convert the former Matty the Jeweler building at 13 N. Main St. into a gourmet coffee shop. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Insufficient parking was the only sticking point identified by the Planning Board among plans submitted by developers seeking approval to renovate the first floor of the former Matty the Jeweler building to convert the space into a gourmet coffee shop.

The Planning Board on Tuesday reviewed a site plan application submitted by Micropolis Development Group seeking approval to renovate the first floor of the former Matty the Jeweler building at 13 N. Main St. to convert the space into a gourmet coffee shop.

In addition to java, baked goods and light fare would also be available to be enjoyed along with live music in the evenings at the coffee shop to be operated under the moniker The Happy Mug.

Due to the nature of the project that proposes to renovate an existing space, Sean Geraghty, consultant to the Fulton County Planning Department, on Wednesday pointed to parking as the only issue identified in the application by the Planning Board.

“That’s really going to be the only issue in the end,” said Geraghty.

Although exact figures for the number of parking spaces required under city code to support the proposed building use are still being calculated while interior layout plans are finalized, Geraghty indicated that the four existing parking spaces attributed to the building would be below the level required. Limited parking in the city’s downtown has become a recurrent issue developers must resolve in order to advance renovation projects submitted to the Planning Board in recent months based on city code requirements.

The Planning Board in July only approved a special permit application for a planned renovation project at 20-24 S. Main St. calling for commercial space on the ground floor level and approximately 14 apartments on the upper floors after developers secured letters from the city and the Fulton County Center of Regional Growth committing parking spaces to the project at nearby properties.

A letter from Mayor Vincent DeSantis committed 46 parking spaces in the city owned lot along Cayadutta Street and South Arlington Avenue to the project while the CRG has committed all spaces to the project that will be created when the agency constructs a parking lot at the site of the former Littauer building at 12-18 S. Main St.

A public parking lot located adjacent to the former Matty the Jeweler building along the rear at 12 Bleecker St. could potentially be leveraged to meet city code requirements if the city commits spaces in the lot to the coffee shop project.

However the parking issue is ultimately addressed, the current site plan application under review by the Planning Board pertains only to the first floor of the three-story building, meaning developers could face additional challenges securing the level of parking required under city code to advance any future plans for the further development of the upper floors of the building.

The Planning Board on Tuesday classified the project that seeks to reuse and rehabilitate an existing building as a Type II action under State Environmental Quality Review, meaning the project will not cause any significant environmental impact and will not require further review.

The board additionally waived holding a public hearing on the site plan application for the property located in the city’s Form-Based Overlay District which allows for an expedited review process. Final action on the application was tabled by the board until developers are able to identify adequate parking to support the project.

Developers have reportedly begun renovations on the interior of the building which may continue in the interim, but the city building inspector will not be able to issue a certificate of occupancy allowing a business to operate in the space until the site plan application has been approved.

“For the time being they’re still working on renovations,” said Geraghty. “I’m sure there is a lot they have to do.”

Any planned improvements to the exterior facade at 13 N. Main St., including new signage, will be subject to approval by the city’s Historic Preservation Review Board.

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