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Sheetz store plan OK'd

July 09, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

Despite traffic concerns, the Hagerstown Planning Commission on Wednesday approved plans for a Sheetz convenience store in the South End.

The 24-hour operation at the northeast corner of South Potomac Street and Oak Ridge Drive could be ready to open as soon as 14 weeks.

Rose Marie Gearhart, who lives on the southwest corner of the intersection, shook her head while looking at the company's engineering plan before the meeting.

"They just keep dumping on these residents. You can't get in and you can't get out," she said.

The convenience store has long been opposed by neighbors, who fought the land's 1994 rezoning from residential to commercial that allowed it to happen.

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The city's rezoning decision was upheld last year, said Matt Davis, a planner with the city of Hagerstown.

"This whole thing has been very sloppily done and it raises concerns that you are creating a failing intersection," said Kent Oliver, a lawyer who represents two nearby property owners.

The intersection gets a passing grade of "D" during peak hours, according to a study by The Traffic Group of Towson, Md.

The study accounted for increased traffic from the new Prime Outlets at Hagerstown set to open next month, said President Mickey Cornelius.

City Engineer Bruce Johnston admitted he was not "comfortable" with the development.

But he could see no reason not to approve it based on the traffic study.

"This has probably been one of the most studied sites ever," Johnston said.

The Sheetz will be about the size of the Sheetz at U.S. 40 and Md. 66.

Plans call for 16 pumps, pole-mounted lights and dense landscaping.

There are two dozen Sheetz stores in the Tri-State area.

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