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Rutter's foes sound off on store plan

May 11, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The project they are protesting wasn't on the Waynesboro Planning Commission's agenda Monday night, but more than a dozen residents were allowed to voice their opinions and ask questions about a proposed Rutter's convenience store and gas station on the corner of Third and Potomac streets.

They presented the commissioners with a petition carrying the names of more than 200 residents opposed to the project that is proposed by local developer Ronnie Martin.

The property, zoned general commercial, once housed the Brake Pontiac-Cadillac dealership.

A lawyer for Rutter's, who was on hand because he thought the planners were going to take up the plan Monday, left without comment when he learned otherwise.

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Kevin Grubbs, assistant borough engineer, said last week that the planners won't be ready to take up the Rutter's proposal until next month when more detailed plans are available.

The preliminary plans, presented at the April meeting by Martin, showed a gas station/convenience store and a drive-up bank.

Martin said in April that construction could begin in three to four months.

The residents, most of whom live on Third Street and adjacent streets, were adamant about not wanting a convenience store in their midst.

Roy Tressler of 121 W. Third St. said neighbors were assured by members of the Borough Council in January 2003, when Martin requested that the property be rezoned from residential to commercial, that a convenience store would never be built on the property.

Tressler said he invited owner Tim Rutter to come to Waynesboro and see the neighborhood for himself.

"He said he'd get back to me, but I'm still waiting," Tressler said.

He asked the commission members for advice on how the residents should proceed with their protest.

Commission Chairman Jon Fleagle told the residents, who call themselves Citizens for Sane Development, that Pennsylvania laws governing local zoning issues generally favor developers.

The Borough Council will have the final say on the project following a recommendation by the planning commission.

One resident called the intersection of Third and Potomac streets one of the borough's most dangerous and the scene of many accidents when drivers ignore the traffic light there.

Fleagle said he agreed with the resident's assessment.

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