No one seemed to mind.
The Good Earth Garden Center, located at the corner of Falls and Glen roads, won unanimous approval with conditions from the planning board to expand their operations.
GEG, Inc., parent company of the center, had come to ask for a modification to its special exception. The exception is, technically, held by GEG in conjunction with Nick and Moscha Despotides, who own the property. GEG leases it and operates the business.
The center wants to pave its parking lot, extend its Christmas hours, build new facilities, and sell Christmas items in the winter and fresh produce in the summer.
“It is a great improvement to what is currently there and will be an asset to the community,” said David Johannes, president of GEG, Inc.
No residents or community groups came to protest. According to GEG’s attorney, Norman Knopf, there were no protesters because the center tried to incorporate the community into the process, meeting with local homeowners and citizens groups before they began the process of applying for the modification. Many times applicants only take the time to meet with the public after there has been an outcry about their proposals.
“They did it the right way,” Knopf said.
The site had previously been used by Allentuck nursery for several years. Good Earth took the site over in 1998. They removed debris from the site and reopened the nursery business.
The planning board was happy with GEG’s efforts to improve the area. “[they are] clearly going to improve the site,” said John Robinson, commissioner on the planning board.
The commission approved the plan with little debate, after ensuring the stormwater management program would not be negatively impacted.
The next step for Good Earth is to go before the board of appeals. The hearing, which had been scheduled for Feb. 12, has been moved to April 7.
“There is a backlog for hearing examiners,” Knopf said.
In spite of the lengthening of the timetable for the approvals, Johannes is happy with the proceedings. “I think its going the way we want,” he said.