Residential, commercial building proposed

GLOVERSVILLE — Developers this week presented concept plans and a variance application for the proposed development of a new commercial space and a 77-unit apartment building on the site of the former Washburn’s Dairy on North Main Street to the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Regan Development of Westchester County plans to purchase the former Washburn’s Dairy properties 143 N. Main St. and redevelop the site after demolishing the former ice cream plant. The plant operated most recently by Fieldbrook Foods Corp. shut down at the end of 2018 as manufacturers shifted production to the corporation’s other facilities in Chautauqua County and New Jersey.

The existing facility spans two tax parcels that together total approximately 1.21 acres. The ice cream plant was comprised of a one-story brick building interconnected with a single-story wood frame building. The plant reaches out on either side of two other North Main Street buildings occupied by Stanyon Financial Services, Herman A Carbonelli Travel Agency and The Pizza Joint. Those privately owned properties are not part of Regan’s acquisition and redevelopment plans.

Regan on Tuesday presented a concept plan for the site to the Planning Board for an early review to identify any potential issues before developers engage in a more detailed engineering analysis.

Early plans call for the construction of an 8,000 square foot commercial space at the intersection of Grand Street and North Main Street and the construction of a segmented 77-unit apartment building with frontage on both North Main Street and parallel running Hamilton Street.

The apartment building would be three stories high along North Main Street and four stories high along Hamilton Street due to a roughly 10-foot change in elevation across the property. The section of the building along Hamilton Street would feature an underground parking area with 28 spaces.

Developers will seek grant funding for the project from the state Homes and Community Renewal agency to partially fund the workforce housing project. Workforce housing projects typically offer one-bedroom units priced at roughly $750 to $850 per month.

Sean Geraghty, consultant to the Fulton County Planning Department, on Wednesday said the Planning Board’s initial review of Regan’s concept plan identified parking as the only major stumbling block for the project from that board’s perspective.

Under city code, the level of commercial and residential space proposed in the project would require around 100 parking spaces, nearly four times the number of spaces developers initially proposed for inclusion. The Planning Board took no formal action on Tuesday while providing feedback on the presented concept plan.

On Wednesday, the Zoning Board of Appeals reviewed an early application from Regan seeking variances from setback distance and land coverage requirements under city code. Setback distances require properties to maintain a certain distance from sidewalks and roadways bordering properties while land coverage requirements limit the percentage of a parcel that can be covered by structures.

Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Jeffrey Ashe on Thursday said the only action taken by the board during this week’s meeting was to request additional information from Regan on the variance application to allow the board to conduct a full of the application.

Ashe noted that developers may request additional variances for the proposed project as plans undergo parallel reviews by the ZBA and Planning Board. To begin the variance application review process, the ZBA on Wednesday asked developers to return a full description and drawing of the project along with a list of every area where the existing building does not meet city zoning standards for a comparison relative to their proposal for redevelopment of the site.

“The existing building that’s there does not meet all the zoning requirements as it is, so the board asked them to go back and explain what’s there today, what does it meet and not, and we hope to compare that with what they are asking for,” said Ashe.

Once the developer has returned all relevant information, Ashe said the board will schedule and hold a public hearing on the application before entering discussion. The board will ultimately make a determination on the complete application based on whether the proposed use would be beneficial or detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the community after examining the application under certain use variance criteria.

The established review criteria considers whether the applicant would be deprived of the economic use of benefit of the property under city zoning regulation, if the property poses an alleged hardship due to its unique nature in relation to the surrounding neighborhood, if a granted variance will alter the character of the neighborhood and if the alleged hardship was self-created.

By Patricia Older

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