NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - The New Hartford Planning Board approved the preliminary plan for the construction of an Olive Garden Restaurant. One board member was concerned, though, about the flow of traffic in and out of the property.
While no one on the planning board is against the construction of the eatery, Board Member Jerome Donovan voted no to the plan because of safety concerns. The plan is for the restaurant to be built on Commercial Drive across from the Kmart Plaza. Donovan says in order for people to get in and out of the parking lot they would have to cross over two lanes of traffic and a turning lane to head westbound on Commercial Drive, towards Route 5. Donovan says the developer could have presented a plan that included the addition of a traffic light in the proposal, which he feels would be safer on an already troublesome road.
Now that the planning board has approved the preliminary plan, the state needs to give the go ahead. The NYS Department of Transportation, the NYS Health Department and the NYS DEC all must look over the plan to make sure certain criteria is met before moving forward. Those departments are required to approve or reject the plan within 30 days.
If the state approves the plan, it will go back to the New Hartford Planning Board for final approval. That could happen sometime in December.
New Hartford officials have not been given a date when construction would potentially start on the Olive Garden Restaurant but they do speculate that if it is approved, it should be open by this time next year.