Harrison schedules public hearing for Sheetz-CVS proposal

| Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, 12:21 a.m.

The Harrison Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the proposed Sheetz-CVS development along Freeport Road in October.

Commissioners Chairman Bill Poston made the announcement Monday night as he heard comments from residents of the neighborhood opposed to the project.

The project area straddles California Avenue across from Highlands Middle School on the site of the former Heights Elementary School and a block of houses stretching from California Avenue to Oregon Avenue that were purchased by developer RBG Development.

RBG has an agreement to purchase the old elementary school from the Highlands School District for $1 million contingent on receiving the proper zoning approvals.

Residents of the neighborhood surrounding the development area voiced strong opposition when the planning commission heard presentations from the development group on Aug. 4. They said they fear the project will have adverse effects on traffic, safety issues and property values.

They managed to exert enough pressure to spur the planning commission's rejection of the development plan, preferring to give it to the township commissioners for the final ruling.

“It is a matter of safety, student safety,” said Rich Osiecki of Davis Street. “Once that goes in, kids will be drawn to it like moths to a light.”

Christine Spece, a real estate agent and resident, said: “I think it would be detrimental if the Sheetz went in where Heights was. It's not going to be good for the neighborhood and the property values will go down.”

Poston told the residents that he knows there are strong feelings about the project but said the commissioners will wait to hear from the professionals who have designed the project. He cautioned the residents, saying that the hearing will be run in the proper manner.

“We're going to hear them out until they are finished,” Poston said.

Later, he advised the residents: “Think hard about this deal with Sheetz. There's a lot worse things that could happen with that building.”

In other business

Commissioners approved an ordinance that limits to three per year the number of yard sales residents are permitted to have.

Poston said there was nothing in the township ordinance book to limit yard sales, although the commissioners thought there was.

“We all thought it was in years ago,” Poston said. “(Solicitor Chuck) Means put it all together and, for some reason, it just died in-house.”

Poston said the ordinance was needed because there were some locations where people didn't remove the items they were selling or the tables they were displayed on. He said they simply put a tarp over everything and then just uncovered it the following weekend and would do that weekend after weekend. He said neighbors were complaining about it.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

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