Aldi’s wants to come to Fulton

By Ashley M. Casey

The supermarket chain Aldi Inc. has requested a special use permit from the city of Fulton to begin building a store on the former Nestlé site on the corner of Fay and South Fourth streets.

The Common Council approved a resolution to set a public hearing April 15 for the special use permit.

Mayor Ron Woodward told The Valley News Aldi and the site’s owner, Carbonstead LLC, approached the city about a month ago about the proposed construction. The property falls under the Manufacturing M-1 district and would need to be re-zoned as Commercial C-2.

According to Aldi’s special use permit application, the store will be 17,651 square feet.

Aldi is a German supermarket chain that operates 1,200 stores in the United States and 9,235 stores globally.

The public hearing will be held at the next Common Council meeting — 7 p.m., April 15, in the Common Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 141 S. First St.

Much ado about zoning

The Common Council approved two zone change requests in the Sixth Ward by a 5-1 vote. Third Ward Councilor Ryan Raponi cast the only dissenting vote on both resolutions.

Properties enclosed within North Sixth, Ontario, Erie and North Seventh streets, and the North Third, Oneida, Seneca and North Fourth streets block have converted from Residential R-2 to Residential R-1A, which requires more than 50 percent of the properties to be single-family units.

Linda Thomas-Caster of Realty USA and landlord Joe Trovato both raised concerns about the zone changes.

If a multi-family residence in an R-1A zone remains vacant for more than a year, the property must be converted to a single-family unit or demolished.

Thomas-Caster, a Realtor, raised the question of dwellings that were intended to be two-family houses, such as those that have two garages.

“I would only want to caution the council in considering this for properties originally built as duplexes,” Thomas-Caster said. “I think this is imposing the right on me as an owner to have to rent that. (What) if I want to leave it vacant for a couple years or I want to do renovations?”

Trovato echoed Thomas-Caster’s issue. He said he is renovating several two-family properties and is afraid he will be forced to turn an existing duplex into a single-family home if it stays unoccupied too long.

“I’m putting money back into the community,” Trovato said. He asked what the procedure was for determining how long a house has been vacant and what property owners like him can do to avoid having to convert a home.

Woodward said the city determines vacancy by water use. If a house has not used the municipal water system for more than a year, then it is vacant.

“We can’t hire enough people to check on all of them,” Woodward said of Fulton’s 4,500 rental units.

He also told Trovato the time for renovations could be extended without penalty through a code enforcement hearing.

The Common Council approved a resolution for a public hearing to revise the housing law to take original duplexes into consideration. That hearing will be held at the next council meeting on April 15.

Other business

• The Friends of Fulton Parks presented a check worth $2,361 to Parks and Recreation Superintendent Barry Ostrander. The donation will go toward the purchase of safety landing material in the playgrounds of Fulton parks.

“Our long-term goal is to hopefully replace equipment in all the city’s parks without the taxpayers having to do it,” said David Guyer, president of the Friends of Fulton Parks.

He said the organization was formed to give people a chance to privately donate to the parks system and to give Fultonians more “ownership” of their parks.

The Friends of Fulton Parks will be holding “Sparkle-a-Park Week” April 22 to May 11 to clean up local parks. They will also host a dinner to benefit the organization at 1 p.m. on April 27 at the Tavern on the Lock, 24 S. First St. Email friendsoffultonparks@gmail.com to buy a ticket. Admission is $10.

• The Common Council unanimously approved a local law prohibiting the feeding of wild animals and waterfowl on city-owned and controlled property.

Charles Potter, a resident of Towpath Towers, spoke at the public forum about people who feed seagulls in Canalview Park.

“It’s really not feeding them — it’s dumping garbage in public parks,” Potter said, holding up a grocery bag full of bread crumbs he had swept up from the park.

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