By Emily Schlegel
The Kutztown Borough Planning Commission voted in favor of Young Ones buying the rental space it currently operates out of, as long as a parking variance issue can be resolved.
Young Ones’ owner, Chris Holt, agreed to buy the building for his business with the understanding that he will inherit none of the attached parking. Holt, instead, has been tasked with submitting a parking variance based on two neighboring municipal lots.
Similar variances have been approved in the past. Without the variance, the building cannot be bought and zoned for retail. The board made it clear that they wanted to prioritize parking for town locals and off-campus college students.
At its Oct. 14 meeting, the board voted 6-1 in favor of Holt’s clarification and purchase. The ‘no’ vote came from chairwoman Lisa Ladd-Kidder.
“It’s not fair to grant variances based on old decisions,” Ladd-Kidder said. She voted in favor of Tommy Boy’s applying for a similar parking variance in 2018.
“It’s important to preserve local businesses while we still have them,” board member Frederick Engelhardt said in his argument for granting the Holt’s clarification and purchase.
Former employee Matthew Devine said, “I think it’s great that they’re still here. One thing I love the most about Kutztown is the eclectic collection of small businesses.”
Holt’s decision to buy the building came a year after local pizza shop Tommy Boy’s attempted to buy the building from the original owner, Richard Smith. A former Young Ones’ employee started an online petition to keep the record store in Kutztown, which garnered over 3,000 signatures.
Tommy Boy’s owner, Thomas Mathias, retracted his original offer a few weeks later, sighting costly building repairs as the main reason.
Holt’s next step is to apply for the special circumstance parking variance and for his legal team to present it at another planning commission meeting.