Board sets date for dealership hearing

Carol Harper, standing at right, submits her request to operate a used car lot on Route 30A, at the Johnstown City Planning Board meeting Tuesday at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The city Planning Board on Tuesday set a public hearing for Jan. 3 to open a retail pre-owned auto sales dealership on Route 30A.

Carol Harper is proposing to own and operate a retail dealership — Route 30A Jumbo Lot 2 — at 111 S. Comrie Ave.

She runs a similar Montgomery County “Jumbo Lot” retail car operation at 88 E. Main St. in Nelliston.

“I’m just looking to expand my business,” Harper told the planning board at City Hall.

The planning board is submitting her application for review by the Fulton County Planning Board because it’s within 500 feet of a state highway. A public hearing was also set for 4 p.m. Jan. 3 at City Hall.

“The sooner I get in there, the better,” Harper said.

Harper said the Johnstown operation will initially have two employees consistently in the building. She will also have a floating DMV clerk and sales manager assisting, as needed.

She said she will be using the building at the site which used to be Handy Ups & Downs.

In information she provided the city, Harper said Route 30A Jumbo Lot 2 will initially stock and display about 30 pre-owned vehicles, ranging from 2005 to 2015. She said her business is “primarily” a retail finance dealership.

“Our lot will be meticulously merchandised and visually appealing to the general public,” Harper stated in her application.

She said her business’ “diversity” enables her to offer financing on “every economic level.” She said the business has a small portfolio of “buy here, pay here” sales available for requesting that option, and service contracts and gap insurance to protect customers.

Hours of operation are expected to be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Harper said she may just paint the outside of the Handy Ups and Downs building.

“It really doesn’t need much remodeling,” she said.

Board Vice Chairman Fredrick Franko said he was concerned about lighting from the new dealership shining onto cars traveling on Route 30A.

Harper said there will be floodlights on the corner of the building, but there shouldn’t be a problem. She said spotlights will be on her vehicles and not facing the highway.

Franko added that he personally has an “ongoing problem” with the “increasing propensity of auto dealerships in the area.”

Harper, whose lot will be across from James Chevrolet,  said she wanted to come to Johnstown. She said there will be no cars on grass. She also noted she has been in business 20 years and her business has everything available large dealerships have, except such things as overhead.

“I’m very careful for what I do,” Harper said.

Board member George Nicholas said of Harper’s business: “I’ve seen her other lots and I’ve always commented how nice they are.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

By Chad Fleck

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