Taco Bell plans for Johnstown location reviewed

JOHNSTOWN – The city Planning Board on Tuesday reviewed plans for a new Taco Bell to be built on the site of the vacant former Burger King building on Route 30A.

That building, located at 205 N. Comrie Ave., will be demolished to make way for the new 2,100-square-foot Mexican-inspired fast food restaurant.

“Basically, it’s a state-of-the-art facility,” said engineer Robert Osterhoudt of Albany-based Bohler Engineering.

John Mason of Hospitality Syracuse Inc. – the restaurant’s franchisee – said after the board meeting at City Hall that it typically takes Taco Bell about four months to build new restaurants. He said the project is hoping for an early fall restaurant opening, following local planning and permit approvals.

“I know the applicant wants to get it in this construction season,” said Osterhoudt.

Mason didn’t have employment projections.

He said Taco Bell just started a breakfast menu. He said the plan for the Johnstown restaurant is to be open seven days a week. Hours would be from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. or midnight Sundays through Thursdays; and 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. or 2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Osterhoudt showed the board site plans for the new Taco Bell. He said the “general location is similar” to the existing 3,500-square-foot vacant Burger King building, although the Taco Bell will be about one-third the size.

“The other big change you’ll see is there’s a lot more green space on the project,” Osterhoudt said.

He projected after landscaping is completed, there will be about 30 percent more grassy area surrounding the Taco Bell building and a few trees on the site. He called it a “significant improvement.” The new restaurant, with access off Route 30A, will have a drive-thru, room for 54 seats and 47 parking spaces.

The project includes new signage, as well as improvements to the existing freestanding sign. Osterhoudt said Bohler Engineering is working with the state Department of Transportation on shifting the driveway slightly more to the north.

“They’re a beautiful set of drawings, nicely done,” said board member Fred Franko.

Osterhoudt said existing gas service from the rear of the site is proposed to be reused. The existing overhead electric service from an adjoining property to the south is proposed to be removed, and new underground service is proposed from the same utility pole.

Board Chairman Peter K. Smith said Taco Bell’s application was referred to the Fulton County Planning Board for an upcoming meeting.

The city board set a public hearing for the project for 4 p.m. May 6 at City Hall, after which time the application may be approved.