State objects to Burger King plan

GLOVERSVILLE – Plans for the proposed new Burger King restaurant on South Kingsboro Avenue hit an obstacle Tuesday when state Department of Transportation officials objected to details of the proposal.

The site plan presented to the city Planning Board proposes a one-way entrance at South Kingsboro Avenue just of Route 30A and two additional two-way entrances.?

The city Planning Board previously said it had concerns with the one-way entrance but decided it would wait for the state agency to weigh in before voting on the plans.

In a letter Tuesday to Fulton County Senior Planner Sean Geraghty, DOT officials said the access driveway is unacceptable because it could interfere with traffic flow at the intersection of South Kingsboro and Route 30A.

Carrols LLC wants to construct the 2,763-square-foot restaurant on property now owned by Foothills United Methodist Church. Carrols would demolish a house to make room for the restaurant.

City Public Works Director Kevin Jones said he thinks he might be able to explain the plan to DOT officials and convince them the proposed access to the Burger King site won’t be problematic.

“I would like to have the opportunity to speak with them about this,” Jones said.

He pointed out there is a two-car garage on the property that would be razed for the one-way entrance.

Jones questioned whether DOT has the authority to block the development because it is on property inside the city.

Geraghty said DOT does have authority over traffic changes within 500 feet of a state road.

“You need these guys on your side,” Geraghty told Jones.

Jim Meinecke, real estate manager for Carrols Corp., said the same type of one-way entrance can be found at Burger King restaurants all over the state, and it does reduce traffic problems at those locations.

The DOT?officials’ letter says the site access proposed for this project is not consistent with the concept articulated in the NY Route 30A Break-in Access Report.

“The report indicates that the level of service for the intersection of Route 30A and South Kingsboro Avenue would decrease significantly as a result of additional development at this intersection,” the letter said. “Thus, the proposed driveway located adjacent to Route 30A and South Kingsboro Avenue will not be permitted because of the potential interference with safe and efficient traffic flow near the intersection.”

The DOT?letter warns that failure to follow the guidelines in the Break-in Access Report might threaten the “viability of any future break in access plan on Route 30A” – likely a reference to the city’s hopes to build a new access road running parallel to the arterial from South Kingsboro to Steele Avenue.

Jones said the traffic study submitted to the DOT as part of the Break-in Access proposal actually indicated this type of development is acceptable.

The city had to submit a “break in access” request packet that included a finalized study of the access-road proposal to the state Department of Transportation and is still waiting for its approval.

The DOT also said the developer needs to change the location of a stormwater detention pond on the proposed Burger King site, and the site’s stormwater management plan must be approved by them before a state highway work permit would be issued.

Planning Board members said at Tuesday’s meeting the last thing they want to do is prevent development in the city, but the DOT response ties their hands, preventing the board from setting a public hearing or taking any further action on the Burger King project.

“I find it difficult to make a decision and move forward with it when I am hearing ‘I think’ or ‘I’m not sure,'” Board Chairman William Ferguson said. “This whole thing that is happening here is the building blocks for that entire corridor, including the break-in access or anything else. It is the foundation for what is going to take place, and it has to be air-tight when it goes down, and if it isn’t air-tight when it goes down, it will come back to bite this board.”

Members said the site plans could change to accommodate DOT’s concerns, but if Jones can convince DOT the road would be OK as proposed, they would be willing to conduct a special meeting to speed up the process. The board put the site plans on hold until Jones can speak with DOT.

The Planning Board looked at other plans for the site, including a quiet ventilation system. Members asked the plans be revised to specify how the lights would be buffered away from Route 30A and the surrounding houses.

Gary R. Rouse of GBC Design said there are plans to plant spruce trees to obstruct residents’ view of the development and the access road.

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