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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents win planning battle against Chinese restaurant

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Residents in Knocknacarra have won their battle to prevent a first-floor apartment in Shangort being converted to a Chinese restaurant.

Jack Chen had sought permission for a change of use of the apartment at the small shopping centre at Seacrest on the Shangort Road – opposite McGrath’s Field – to a restaurant with seating for 48 people.

However, Galway City Council ruled that such a use would contravene the current City Development Plan because it would adversely impact adjacent dwellings and their private amenity space and cause an increase in traffic.

They added that there would be insufficient parking and the restaurant would be likely to lead to illegal parking on adjacent roadways and housing estates, which would create a traffic hazard and endanger public safety by reason of obstruction.

Planners added that Mr Chen failed to show sufficient legal interest or permission for the construction of a rear fire escape stairs and for work to the attic and roof, which would render it a hazard to public safety.

Mr Chen had proposed to have opening hours of 5.30pm to 10.30pm, and that the busy period for the restaurant would be 7pm to 10pm, when all other businesses in the building are closed.

“The carpark in the evening will be virtually free from 6pm and this will eliminate any parking or traffic issues.

“Chinese restaurants by their nature are usually very quiet as the music is low and soft, so the noise levels will be kept to a minimum,” the application reads.

A total of eleven objections were received, as well as petitions signed by almost 50 residents of the adjacent Woodview Court and Seacrest estates on the grounds that it is a residential area; it would create traffic problems; there is already a lack of parking in the area and that it may lead to anti-social behaviour.

Residents also referred to a decision by An Bord Pleanála in 2001, overturning permission for a Chinese restaurant in one of the shop units in the development.

An objection to Mr Chen’s application was also lodged by local area councillor Donal Lyons, who said: “As a local representative, I have not received any representations requesting that such a change of use is needed in the area. Alternatively, I have received a large number of representations requesting my support in objecting to this planning application.

“As outlined, I believe that the character of the area would be seriously affected. This is an established residential area.

“The proposal would result in an increase in late night noise and disturbance, to the serious detriment of the adjoining occupier,” wrote Cllr Lyons.

A resident of Woodview Court said: “There is the potential for anti-social behaviour with people congregating at the restaurant and take away late at night causing disturbance and vandalism.

“I am concerned that people would gather in the shared laneway at the back of Seacrest shopping centre. The laneway is shared by the residents backing onto the shopping centre.”

In 2001, the current Mayor of Galway, Cllr Pearce Flannery, had planning permission refused by An Bord Pleanala to convert the former Quinn’s shop unit to a ‘Bamboo Hut’ Chinese restaurant and take-away.

The Board noted that the proposed restaurant was located within an area zoned primarily for residential purposes and that it would result in “a material increase in late-night noise and disturbance to the serious detriment of adjoining occupiers”.

Mr Chen lists himself in the planning application as the owner of the 4/5-bed apartment, which was on the market last year with a guide price of €235,000.

CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City Council needs 40 more workers to help deliver on projects

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Forty more workers are needed at City Hall ‘right away’, the Chief Executive of Galway City Council has said.

Brendan McGrath has warned city councillors that the local authority is understaffed and it needs to hire more staff immediately to deliver its plans and projects.

The total cost of the extra 40 workers, including salary, would be between €1.75 million and €1.95 million.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council had a workforce now that was below what it had in 2007, but the city’s population has grown and so too had the services the Council provides.

The population of Galway City grew by almost 11% in the 10 years to 2016, he said, and total staff numbers in the Council fell by 13.6% during that period.

Though more staff were hired in recent years, Mr McGrath said that the Council was at 2007 and 2008 staffing levels, even though the Census will record further increases in population since 2016.

Mr McGrath said that the City Council now provides 1,000 services across a range of departments, far more than during the 2000s.

He said that currently, 524 staff are employed at the City Council. This equated to 493 Whole Time Equivalents when part-time workers such as school wardens and Town Hall workers are included.

Mr McGrath said that 12% of all staff are in acting up positions, with many more in short-term or fixed-term contracts. There was a highly competitive jobs market and the Council was finding recruitment and retention of specialist staff difficult.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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