Plan for yogurt plant approved by board

JOHNSTOWN – The city Planning Board on Tuesday approved a new 300,000-gallon water tank and parking modifications for the Fage USA yogurt plant at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

Final action on the project followed a hearing on the Fage site plan, in which no one from the public spoke at City Hall. The approval also followed a formal waiving of a state Environmental Quality Review for the project, which City Engineer Chandra Cotter said wasn’t needed.

“I’ve been meeting with [Fage] on the water and sewer,” Cotter said.

City Fire Chief Bruce Heberer also told the board Fage’s project meets all code requirements.

Nicholas J. Schwartz, an architect with Clough Harbour & Associates of Albany, outlined more proposed changes on behalf of Fage. The company is undertaking a major $120 million expansion expected to create 150 jobs on top of its current 240-person workforce. The company wants to double production with a new building and other site changes.

The original site plan for Fage’s operation was approved by the board in June 2005 but has since been modified several times by Clough Harbour & Associates. Subsequent site approvals by the board were in April 2006, May 2008, May 2009, August 2010, April 2011 and December 2011.

The project approved by the board Tuesday again modifies the Fage site plan to include a 300,000-gallon on-site water storage tank on the west side of Venture Drive. The tank will have a 45- by 50-square-foot chainlink fence around it.

The company also will modify a proposed truck parking area, with a subsequent need to modify existing underground utilities.

Schwartz said the work will involve general utilities such as water lines, natural gas and electrical services to Fage.

He also said some of the new additional work with this project will entail tighter security at Fage. The company will have more security gates operated by remote control from a new guard shack.