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Speedway to try again in Unity

| Thursday, April 9, 2015, 12:01 a.m.

For the third time, Unity supervisors are set to consider a plan to construct a Speedway gas station and convenience store near the Inn at Mt. View.

Supervisors will hold a hearing 3 p.m. Thursday on the proposal to build the facility on a 4.2-acre parcel at the intersection of Route 30 and Village Drive.

Thus far, the plan by the Ohio-based company has been mired in controversy about the impact of the business on traffic in the area.

The company's first plan, submitted in October 2013, called for a driveway from the gas station to Frye Farm Road and Village Drive. The current proposal calls for access only from Village Drive.

The latest plan includes two diesel fueling islands for commercial trucks, such as tractor-trailers, and seven gasoline fueling islands.

In the first go-around, township officials and residents expressed concerns about traffic generated by large trucks purchasing diesel at the site. As a result, the company removed the diesel islands from a second plan, but supervisors still rejected that proposal in June 2014. Speedway has appealed the ruling in Westmoreland County Court, but no hearing date is set.

Township solicitor Gary Falatovich has questioned whether Speedway officials would have to submit a new traffic study along with their third proposal.

But Speedway's attorney Bill Sittig said a letter from state transporation officials indicates the existing study is still valid.

At a recent planning commission meeting, Sittig expressed frustration with the stops and starts the company has experienced.

“(Speedway) was sent on this merry-go-round to eliminate the diesel (pumps). We're back to having diesel and that original plan is consistent with the original traffic study, and we're moving forward with the diesel,” he said. “We're getting off the merry-go-round.”

Falatovich said he was not aware of PennDOT's letter.

If Unity officials approve building plans for the Speedway, traffic plans for the site will require approval from both PennDOT and Westmoreland County.

In order to move forward, Speedway officials also need approval from Unity zoning board members on their request to permit construction of a gas station on the commercially zoned parcel.

Earlier this year, that request was denied and Speedway has asked the zoning officials to reconsider.

Falatovich said the planning commission and zoning hearing board would consider the plan separately, although any planning commission decisions would be moot if the zoning board's rejection stands.

A hearing last week before the zoning board was continued to 6 p.m. May 12 after Speedway requested documents and communications related to its application for the gas station and convenience store.

Speedway LLC, a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corp., is the nation's second-largest company-owned and -operated convenience store chain with about 2,750 stores in 22 states, according to the company website.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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