Delmont residents worry planned service station will bring problems

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A service station proposed in Delmont has raised concerns for both borough officials and some residents.

Plans call for a Speedway service station to be built on the westbound side of Route 66 at the intersection with West Pittsburgh Street. It would be on an 8-acre lot and have eight gas-fueling lanes, three diesel-fueling lanes and a 4,600-square-foot convenience store, according to Brandon Daniels, spokesman for Speedway, a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corp.

Borough solicitor Dan Hewitt said a "threshold of issues ... need to be addressed" by the developer. One, he said, is a petition requesting that the borough vacate a portion of an alley that is part of the property. That would require scheduling a public hearing.

Speedway also submitted an application Oct. 9 to the Delmont zoning hearing board seeking a zoning exception for the proposed service station.

"A service station is not a permitted use for that zoning district," said Gary Baird, assistant engineer for the borough.

"This is something that shouldn't be in a residential area," said Julie Walczer, a former council member who lives on West Pittsburgh Street.

She and four other residents plan to present petitions against the project to council and the planning commission. The planning commission has not yet made a recommendation to council on the project but may decide when it meets next Thursday. Council's next meeting is Nov. 12.

In addition to concerns about safety, light and noise, some residents are worried about the possibility of increased traffic. Access to the station would be from either a two-way entrance off West Pittsburgh Street or two "right in and right out" access points off Route 66, heading south, Mr. Baird said.

According to Mr. Daniels, the results of a traffic study completed in February revealed that the impact to the region would be minimal.

"This site would cause no decrease in operation on Route 66 or Pittsburgh Street. There will be very minor increases in the north and southbound left-turning lanes, but the lanes are already long enough to handle the few additional vehicles. There will be no impact to the north and south through lanes," he said.

In an interview, Ms. Walczer said she photographed the area in September from 4:55 to 5:15 p.m. and it was in "gridlock."

"We are also concerned with response time for ambulances trying to get through the area [with additional traffic]," she said.

Mr. Daniels said the convenience store would be "our flagship model" and would offer fresh entrees prepared by an on-site kitchen staff.

"This location will provide between 30 and 35 employment opportunities," he added.

Borough officials could not comment on how much in taxes the new business would bring to Delmont.

Mr. Daniels said it is uncertain whether a representative from Speedway will attend the planning commission meeting next Thursday.


Laurie Bailey, freelance writer: First Published October 17, 2013 1:06 AM


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