Crucial vote on Sheetz’s request to move across Perry Highway set for Dec. 10
McCandless council is scheduled to vote Dec. 10 on whether or not Sheetz meets the zoning requirements to move across Old Perry Highway to a new location it wants to build near the intersection of Montclair Avenue.
After concluding town business at its Nov. 26 business meeting council announced that it was entering into executive session to conduct “quasi-judicial deliberations” on the company’s effort to relocate its convenience store and gasoline station.
Before rendering a decision, council will take into account scores of documents that have been submitted and nearly four hours of testimony it heard during an Oct. 22 public hearing on Sheetz’s request.
That hearing was only for the three parcels of land along Perry Highway on which Sheetz plans to install the underground fuel tanks and pumps, which already is zoned to allow a filling station, according to representatives of the Altoona-based convenience store chain.
The land where the convenience store, additional parking, outdoor cafe and other elements will be primarily located is at 131 Montclair Ave., which is zoned for both residential and commercial use but does not permit a fuel station.
The company plans to submit a separate site plan for the store, which also would have to be approved by council.
Since first announcing its plan to relocate earlier this year, residents — both for and against the project — have packed council meetings.
Residents who live on the streets that border the commercial district along Perry Highway have argued that a larger convenience store and gasoline station closer to their homes will increase their exposure to gasoline and diesel fumes; add more noise, light and traffic congestion; make it more dangerous for children waiting for school buses; lower nearby property values; and generally disturb the tranquility of their neighborhood.
Sheetz officials say there isn’t enough room at the current location to replace the structure with one of the larger stores the company typically builds.
Numerous residents also have supported the company’s contention that entering and exiting the store location at the busy triangular junction of Old Perry Highway and Perry Highwayis dangerous for motorists.
Company officials said the larger location and additional pumps would actually cut congestion by reducing the amount of time it takes to get in and out of the site.
If the project is approved, Sheetz would also be required to make significant upgrades to improve safety and traffic flow where the entrance to the convenience store will be located, including adding a dedicated turning lane and making traffic signal improvements.
Company officials said they also will comply with or exceed a series of conditions the town is requiring to help limit the station’s impact on the nearby residences, including:
- Limits to lighted signs and installation of an opaque canopy over the fuel pumps to remove glare.
- No lighting that illuminates adjacent properties.
- Construction of a large mound along Montclair planted with evergreens, shrubs and trees to provide year-round screening.
- Lower light poles that are adjacent to residential properties.
- No trash collection or truck deliveries between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Limiting outside dining to certain hours.
- Fuel tanks placed at least 300 feet from the closest residential property line.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or [email protected] or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.