Sheetz clears first hurdle needed to build new location across Perry Highway in McCandless
Sheetz has received the first of several approvals from McCandless it will need to move across Perry Highway to a new location it wants to build.
Council on Monday voted 5-2 to approve a measure certifying that three properties on which the company plans to install the underground fuel tanks and pumps for the new station meet the town’s zoning requirements.
Councilman Greg Walkauskus and Councilwoman Carolyn Schweiger voted against approving the measure.
The land where the convenience store, additional parking, outdoor cafe and other elements of the project 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 before construction can begin.
The plan to build a new, larger store has received sharp opposition from residents whose homes are near the proposed site for the new store.
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 disturb their quality of life.
Sheetz wants to move to a new location because there is not enough room at the current location to replace the structure with one of the larger stores the company typically builds.
A number of residents have rallied in support of the company’s plans to move because getting in and out of the current location at the busy triangular junction of Old Perry Highway and Perry Highway can be dangerous.
The company will be required to add a dedicated turning lane into the site and make traffic signal improvements at the new location. Sheetz officials say the larger location and additional pumps would cut congestion by reducing the amount of time it takes to get in and out of the site.
The town also will require adding features to the site to address the concerns raised by neighbors, including a large mound planted with trees and shrubs that provide year-round screening as well lighting that does not bleed onto adjacent properties.
Limits also will be placed on the time of day trucks can make deliveries or pick up trash at the site and the hours of operation for a planned outdoor dining area.
The fuel tanks and pumps also will have a modern gasoline containment system to safeguard the environment, according to company officials.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.