Demolition signals start for Speedway in Oakmont
As Speedway prepares to build a gas station/convenience store in Oakmont, its plans have hit snags elsewhere.
Crews this week demolished the former Lieberth and Sons Dodge dealership along Hulton Road near the Hulton Bridge, the site for the sixth Speedway store in and around Pittsburgh.
The company, a subsidiary of Marathon Oil that's based in Findlay, Ohio, entered the regional market last summer. More recently, it has either made development applications or shown interest in sites in four Westmoreland County communities: Delmont, Penn Township, Unity Township and New Stanton. But nothing has advanced to the development stage.
Officials at Marathon Oil refused to provide comment to the Valley News Dispatch on the problems and opposition they have encountered as well as the scope of their plans for Speedway in the region.
Oakmont residents put up strong objections to Speedway's plans when they were proposed last year.
Most of the objections centered on safety concerns since Hulton Road is a major traffic artery for commuters into and out of Pittsburgh, and Riverview High School is just across the road from the Oakmont site. Critics said the Speedway will generate even more traffic congestion and will disrupt nearby residential neighborhoods with increased noise, glare from lighting, and its 24-hour operating schedule.
Still others objected because they felt it simply wasn't the kind of business the town needs or wants.
Oakmont's zoning laws were on Speedway's side. It sought approval as a conditional use and council approved it.
“By definition, a conditional use is a permitted use,” said Councilman Tom Briney. “But the borough has the right to introduce conditions to it so that the development represents the standards of the community.
“We felt very good about the elements of control that we were able to put in for that development.”
Briney, an architect, is one of the Oakmont Council members who worked on the Speedway issues and conditions that the borough sought that allowed the development. He said Marathon was anxious to “move the process along,” which aided the borough with what it was seeking.
“In our case, it was a permitted use — a conditional use in the commercial district,” Briney said. “We really evaluated it pretty carefully in terms of the ordinance. We made sure we got a clear idea of what the improvements were going to be, and access and safety were certainly two of the primary ones.”
A key addition was a traffic light on Hulton Road to help control access to the Speedway store. But in addition to that, he said Speedway agreed to make improvements off of its property in order to gain approval.
Briney said that involved upgrading the paving on neighboring streets, West Woodland Avenue and Third Street, to accommodate the fuel and other trucks that will make deliveries to the store, as well as widening Third Street.
He said Speedway added a landscaping and a “site wall” that lends some scale to the front of the site. It also limited the size and type of signs to be used.
“There are compromises, I guess, in anything,” Briney said, “but this was a permitted use, and we just worked with them through the conditions.''
The biggest roadblock the company has hit at other sites is in Delmont. Speedway's site is at Route 66 and West Pittsburgh Street in the northern end of town. It is the former site of Carney's Corner, a popular restaurant that burned down a few years ago.
Borough Solicitor Daniel Hewitt said Speedway is appealing the zoning board's decision in February to Westmoreland County Court. The zoning board allowed use of the property for a gas station but without access onto Pittsburgh Street. That apparently would allow access and egress to only southbound traffic on Route 66.
Hewitt said case documents need to be filed and no court date has been set.
The plan angered residents in an adjacent neighborhood who claim the gas station/convenience store would cause safety and pollution issues. Residents also cited plans to install three diesel fueling pumps as a problem, fearing the facility would become a truck stop.
Hewitt said Speedway has eliminated the diesel pumps from its plans.
“I know Unity had some of the same issues that the Delmont site had,” he said.
• The Unity site is at the intersection of Route 30 and Village Drive near the Inn at Mountain View.
More than 600 residents purportedly had signed a petition opposing the Speedway application for conditional use. But before they could present it to the supervisors, Speedway withdrew its application.
Unity officials did not return a call from the Valley News Dispatch seeking comment and concerning whether the application was refiled.
• An employee in the planning and zoning department at Penn Township, which borders Murrysville, confirmed that Speedway has expressed interest in building on a site at Route 130 and Pleasant Valley Road. However, she said the company has not submitted a development application.
• Mary Ann Roll, New Stanton's borough secretary/treasurer, said Speedway has withdrawn, at least temporarily, its plans to build a store on the site of an old motel along Pennsylvania Avenue.
She said that was not due to any residents' opposition but because of PennDOT's plan to widen the ramps for Interstate 70 and, along with that, Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Smaller properties in Alle-Kiski Valley remain attractive to drillers
- Leadership Butler County aims to benefit community with pavilion project
- Man in New Kensington standoff charged
- 2 New Kensington-Arnold candidates removed from primary ballot
- Freshman arrested in Burrell High School bomb threat
- Eagle egg breaks, parents abandon nest
- Allegheny Township dentist to help those in need on mission trip to Belize
- OSHA fines East Deer company $70,000 in aftermath of worker’s electrocution
- Kiski Area Intermediate School band chosen to play at state conference
- Vandergrift Sons of America gives back to the community
- Hays eagle egg watch continues