Pa. Sheetz plan questioned

April 14, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A proposal to open a Sheetz store in the west end of Chambersburg had some council members and residents questioning the effect it would have on traffic in the area.

The 5,100-square-foot store would be built on two acres with entrances off Lincoln Way West, Loudon Street and Monticello Court, according to the subdivision plan submitted by the company. If the subdivision and land development plans are approved by the council, the new store could be open by September, said Michael A. LaCesa, Sheetz's director of real estate.

"You have a total lack of respect for people on West Queen Street," said Ralph Todino, who said he lives at the corner of West Queen Street and Monticello Court.


"We look for properties that are zoned for our use. We don't ask to rezone properties," said LaCesa.

Although the site is across the street from a residential area, it is zoned for light industrial use, he said.

The store could see as many as 113 vehicles during its peak hour of 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., according to a traffic study done for Sheetz. At the peak evening hour, the volume would be about 100 vehicles an hour, said Mark Lewis of HRG, a traffic engineering company from Harrisburg, Pa.

About three-quarters of those vehicles would be from the normal traffic that already drives past the location, Lewis said.

"It's a great location, but it's a terrible location" Councilwoman Sharon Bigler said.

Several council members noted its proximity to housing and to the intersection of Loudon Street, Lincoln Way West and Sollenberger Road.

"Don't we already have a traffic problem down there?" asked Bernard Washabaugh, the former borough council president.

"We're creating a nightmare here," he said.

Council President William McLaughlin said there are "pockets of inappropriate zoning" in the borough. The plan would have to be approved, however, if Sheetz meets all the subdivision and land development ordinance requirements.

The council requested more information about Sheetz's plans for landscaping, lighting, screening and an opinion from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on a highway occupancy permit for the site.

In addition to the store, LaCesa said there will be enough fuel pumps to accommodate 12 vehicles at a time and a car wash on the property. He said Sheetz plans to close its store at Lincoln Way West and Franklin Street when the new store opens.

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