Planning Board to review pair of projects

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The city’s Planning Board will continue its review of a pair of high-profile projects, both of which began seeking approval in 2020, at the board’s first meeting of 2021 which is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5.

On the agenda include the proposal by GPO Federal Credit Union for construction of a new 3,000-square foot building at 1705 N. James St. as well as a review for the construction of a 6,400-square foot car wash at 1315 Erie Boulevard W., the site of the former Greystone animal hospital.

• The Planning Board members will review the required State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR)— which examines any environmental impacts of a building project and site plan review — for the GPO Federal Credit Union project. At a December planning board meeting, action on the plan was tabled pending the results of the SEQR which was still being conducted.

The project would represent significant investment at the site, which is at the intersection of North James and Chestnut streets. The intersection, just north of Rome Memorial Hospital, features Rapsberry’s Cafe as well as medical offices. The new credit union would remove the existing building, what once housed The Garage restaurant (and prior to that a convenience store) and construct the new building.

At a prior Planning Board meeting, credit union representatives said they bought a number of smaller parcels in that area and are in the process of combining them into one. According to city documents, the credit union wants to add parking, lighting and landscaping features at the properties of 1701-1709 North James St.

In providing details, the proposed credit union branch would have three drive-through lanes as well as what is called an “escape lane” which serves as an outside exit lane often used for those who need to duck out of line for whatever reason.

Also at a prior meeting, there was a question about the limited number of maximum parking spots allowed at the site — per code, it would allow one parking space per 200 square feet of building. Credit union officials were concerned that after credit union employees use spaces there would be little left for patrons. The planning board advised them they would need to seek a remedy from the city zoning board to fine-tune that aspect of the project.

• Also on the January 5 agenda is a SEQR and site plan review for the construction of a 6,400 square foot car wash at 1315 Erie Boulevard West, the site of the former Greystone animal hospital.

According to documents, Albany based Hoffman Development Corp. is, “proposing to construct a 6,400 square foot car wash building on 1.93 acres. The project includes three queuing lanes, single entrance and exit drives, 13 vacuum parking spaces and seven employee parking spaces. Site utilities include public sewer and water with onsite stormwater management.”

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Related meeting documents can be found online at: https://romenewyork.com/planning-board/

Due to the continued closure of city hall due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting will be conducted remotely and can be heard using a telephone audio livestream.

The stream can be access by dialing1-408-418-9388 and entering access code 179 170 8704#

Those wishing to make a comment during the meeting may do so by emailing city clerk Jean Grande at jgrande@romecitygov.com no later than 24 hours prior to the meeting. All comments received will be read into the public record during the public comment portion of the meeting.

An initial sketch plan review was conducted for a project being undertaken by GPO Federal Credit Union. Representatives produced preliminary ideas to iron out fine details before a more formal site plan review is conducted.

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