Oakmont Council sets conditions for Hulton Road gas station

| Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, 1:16 a.m.

Oakmont Council on Monday unanimously approved a set of development conditions for the proposed Speedway along Hulton Road that's had some residents in an uproar.

The stipulations seemed to placate only a handful of those who packed the borough building for an update on the controversial gas station and convenience store's status.

Most of the 30-some residents were palpably upset that the facility was one step closer to development.

The proposed Speedway would be located along Hulton Road at the Third Street intersection near the Hulton Bridge. The vacant property was once occupied by the Lieberth and Sons car dealership.

Hundreds of residents purportedly signed a petition last month opposing the facility, primarily over safety concerns and the idea of additional traffic in an already congested area. Other concerns included financial harm to other businesses and a potential increase in crime from loiterers.

Councilman Thomas Briney tried to allay some of those concerns by announcing the borough's conditions for development before the council approved the Speedway's preliminary land development application.

One condition calls for the developer to pay for installation of a traffic light at the Hulton Road and Third Street intersection.

The light would alleviate traffic snarls, according to Briney, by providing motorists heading into the gas station from the Hulton Bridge with a left arrow onto Third Street.

Vehicles exiting the Speedway would be required to turn right, toward the bridge.

The developers will accommodate delivery tanker truck service by widening the right-hand turn back onto Hulton Road with 35 additional feet of pavement than what was originally proposed.

The borough also mandated that developers install no more than 14 gas pumps, or seven fuel islands, rather than eight as originally planned.

Those concerned that the facility would increase crime let out a collective groan when they learned the borough's restrictions on hours of operations.

The gas station will have permission to operate from 5 a.m. to midnight everyday for the first six months, after which they may be granted rights to 24-hour service.

One woman who lives on Morris Street behind the proposed location stood up at Monday's meeting to voice her opposition to what she said were feeble restrictions to deter crime.

“I have kids, 14 and 16,” she said. “I don't want them exposed to the kind of things that go on at gas stations every night. There are already 24-hour gas stations around here, and I don't see why the Speedway needs to be open that late.”

The borough offered another conciliatory restriction for residents living near the location. It's requiring the developers to pay for roadway improvements to Third Street, Woodland Avenue and Morris and Potomac streets. They will install decorative fencing and sidewalks where the property meets Hulton Road.

Executive session

In regard to an executive session that the council called on Oct. 2 despite objections from the Valley News Dispatch, council President Timothy Milberger said this:

“We're very conscientious about when to adjoin to a private session and under what circumstances,” he said. “In that case, we were speaking about potential litigation and felt it warranted an executive session.”

He would not elaborate.

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at (724) 226-4673 or bashe@tribweb.com.

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