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Johnstown Planning Board grants extension for project

JOHNSTOWN — The city Planning Board on Tuesday granted a one-year extension on a previously-approved project by Fulton Friendship House to build affordable housing development units off North Perry Street.

Board Chairman Peter K. Smith explained that the agency has a project at 507 N. Perry St.

“Today, we take up an extension,” he said.

Smith said the sale of vacant land for the housing was previously completed by the former owners of the John C. Miller auto dealership to Comet Properties.

“The project has not yet begun construction,” Smith said.

He noted that all the board’s approvals come with a one-year “sunset” provision and Fulton Friendship House didn’t get the project done in a previous timeframe since 2020.

So Smith said the agency had to come back for an extension, which was granted Tuesday.

“I’m not aware of any changes,” said board member and City Engineer Christopher Vose.

Smith said the project is substantially the same one approved, but for an unknown reason the project was delayed.

The last time Fulton Friendship House — a drug and alcohol treatment facility — came before the board was in March 2020.

The agency changed the design of its planned affordable housing complex from two to three stories.

The board as early as 2018 had approved the original site plan for a new 64-unit project. Fulton Friendship House previously purchased 34 acres west of the former John C. Miller dealership.

Officials say the project is especially important to the city because the Common Council previously entered into a 15-year deal with Fulton Friendship House in which the not-for-profit pays the city $495,000 during that time through a Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement.

The parties previously tentatively agreed to have the agency pay the city a $33,000 annual rate through the PILOT.

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