City officials say a proposed expansion to Johnstown’s Fage Yogurt plant is likely to increase jobs and revenue in the region.
The Greek yogurt manufacturing facility in Johnstown Industrial Park has proposed a two-story, 180,000-square-foot addition to make room for more production and office space.
“We’re very pleased with their success,” said Johnstown Planning Board Chairman Peter Smith, “because, of course, they’ve been providing jobs in the area and hiring people. But they’re also buying milk from our dairy farmers, and they’re also getting to be one of the largest customers at our sewage treatment plant.”
The addition would nearly double the size of the current 210,000-square-foot facility on Opportunity Drive.
Before the company can break ground in spring, Fage needs to complete a State Environmental Quality Review, which will assess and mitigate any significant environmental issues. Smith said once the review is completed, a public hearing will be scheduled for November’s Planning Board meeting.
Albany architect Nicholas Schwartz presented an amended site plan to the Planning Board last week, in which he proposed the expansion, two additional milk-receiving bays, a new truck entrance, an expanded parking lot and additional landscaping. Schwartz did not specify how many jobs the expansion might create.
Fage decided on the Johnstown location in 2005, built its plant and began production in 2008. The company has already purchased three acres of land on the west side of the site and 1.15 acres to the east.
Company officials could not be reached Wednesday to discuss the plan.
A new truck entrance would make truck traffic in and around the site safer and more efficient, Schwartz told the Planning Board, according to minutes of the Sept. 6 meeting. City streets have trouble accommodating all of the tractor-trailers that drive in and out of the Industrial Park, Smith said, so a new entrance and additional parking would be helpful.
“They’ve been parking on streets, which is not a satisfactory situation,” he said. “This way they can circle around the building and offload their milk right at the entrance. It’s a better fit for them.”
The Planning Board will serve as lead agency in the SEQR process, as proposed by City Engineer Chad Kortz.
Fulton County Economic Development Corporation President Michael Reese could not be reached Wednesday to comment on the possible boost to the regional economy. But Fage, which employs more than 170 people, is in a good position to add jobs, according to city officials who attended the meeting.
“We see it as a win-win situation,” Smith said. “With the expansion, it seems logical they will put on new staff. We’ve very happy that they’re expanding and hiring people. It generates revenue, and that’s a good thing.”
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Categories: Business, Schenectady County