Residential areas may get museums

JOHNSTOWN – The town will hold a public hearing May 19 on having special-use permits to allow museums in residential areas.

The Town Board passed a resolution Monday to establish the hearing after a report from Code Enforcement Officer Ryan Fagan.

Fagan said he received a request to change the zoning to allow for museums or art galleries in residential single family, or R1, districts.

According to Fagan, those districts are zoned to allow for country clubs or private, single-family residences.

“There are a multitude of communities who allow for museums or something similar to that within a subsequent R1 zone, but it is always with the approval with a special-use permit,” Fagan said.

A special-use permit would allow the town to grant or deny a proposal, and place contingencies on parts of a proposal, such as parking or operations.

Members of the board asked what kind of changes would be made to the town’s zoning.

“All you would have to is simply, in our use table, put a special use permit in that column for an R1 district for a museum,” Fagan said.

Cathi Radner, the town attorney, said any changes to the zoning would have to go through as a local law.

Fagan said Smith Engineering and Architect were designing plans for a museum or art gallery.

Fagan said nothing set in stone has been planned. No property has been purchased as of yet and plans are still being drawn up.

Steven Smith, the owner, could not be reached for comment Monday morning.

“He contacted me to ask about allowable uses in an R1 districts,” Fagan said.

Walter Lane, a Town Board member, suggested a special meeting to discuss the proposed change before a public hearing was scheduled.

However, the board decided to discuss it via email and scheduled the hearing for the next public meeting, slated for May 19.