Sheetz proposes measures to address concerns about new McCandless location
McCandless council is reviewing proposed changes to address concerns residents have raised about Sheetz’s request to build a new gas station across the street from its current location on Perry Highway.
The changes the Altoona-based company has proposed will be incorporated into its final site plan for the project, which could come up for a vote at council’s business meeting on April 22.
Sheetz wants to move to a new location because there is not enough room at the current site to replace the structure with one of the larger stores the company typically builds.
But residents who live on the streets surrounding the new location 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 their property values; and generally disturb the tranquility of the neighborhood.
A number of those residents appeared at council’s April 8 committee meeting to ask council to reject the site plan.
Among the issues raised by residents along Montclair Avenue, which would border the new gas station, is that the original location proposed for the store’s Dumpster was too close to their homes.
To address that problem, the company moved it to a different location on the property and plans to enclose the receptacle in a structure with 8-foot walls made from the same brick that will be used on the building.
The enclosure also will have a cover and entrance gate made from the same brass-colored material that will adorn the convenience store building.
The height of an earthen mound with shrubs and trees planted on top that will serve as a buffer between the gas station and residential properties also has been increased from 6 feet to 7 feet.
A company representative noted that said the overall number of trees and shrubs that will be planted to screen light and noise from the site will exceed the requirements set by town planners.
The company already has agreed to a number of conditions that are aimed at minimizing the impact on surrounding residential properties.
Those conditions include:
• No external lighting of signs and installation of an opaque canopy over the fuel pumps lighting with recessed lighting that remove glare.
• Lighting that does not cause “disruptive” color alterations or illumination of adjacent properties.
• Lower lighting poles that are adjacent to residential properties.
• Prohibiting trash collection and fuel and product deliveries between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
• Limiting outside dining to certain hours that would be determined at a later date.
• Keeping fuel tanks at least 300 feet from the closes residential property line to avoid problems with obtaining home loan guarantees.
Additionally, the State Department of Transportation is requiring Sheetz to make significant upgrades to improve safety and traffic flow near the intersection where the entrance to the convenience store will be located.
Those upgrades include the addition of southbound and northbound left turning lanes, a traffic signal at Gloria Street, signs directing motorists in and out of the site, moving the store’s entrance on Montclair Avenue 18-feet closer to Perry Highway and installation of a crosswalk on Montclair that leads to a concrete pad where students can wait for their school bus.
Chuck Wooster, who conducted the traffic study for the project on behalf of the Altoona-based company, estimated that only about 10 percent of the vehicles that use the new Sheetz would enter or exit along Montclair.
One of the traffic control measures the company proposed — a speed bump on Montclair just north of the gas station entrance to slow traffic entering the residential neighborhood — likely will be scrapped because it would become a nuisance to residents who travel the street daily.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .