The Wyoming County Planning Commission granted a waiver last Wednesday allowing D&C Fuel Sales to begin site development for a new gas station, just east of Shadowbrook Resort, before the developer has a highway occupancy permit (HOP) in hand.
Craig Keller of D&C Fuel Sales was back before the planning body as he had done in recent months, and in April, clearly noted he was seeking to begin construction on a convenience store/fuel station shell on the south side of Route 6 opposite Keystone Caps, and hoped to have it in the ground by the end of 2019.
But, the D&C project is also awaiting a highway occupancy permit from PennDOT, and typically development in a new site is not allowed until that is in hand.
As part of the development, there is to be a light installed at the Rt. 6 intersection with Billings Mill Road, and it is expected that will likely have a high impact on traffic.
In April, Wyoming County solicitor Paul Litwin said Keller would like the planners to enter into a waiver release of liability to the county that allowed him to begin construction before PennDOT issued its HOP.
Because of some concern about the precedent that might set, the concept was voted down, 4-3, last month.
Last Wednesday, Litwin said, “Our concern is about the possibility of an accident if the process is allowed to move forward” and what happens if Keller doesn’t get the HOP.
Keller, who was at the meeting, said again that he wished to take advantage of the construction season as he was hoping the project could be in the ground by year’s end.
He noted, “The signal part of this has been accepted,” so he didn’t expect PennDOT to be an impediment.
PC chairman Randy Ehrenzeller asked about what restrictions could be in place just in case, and county planner Lynelle Farber said that they wouldn’t be able to occupy what they construct until after the HOP is obtained.
Keller said, “We’re well aware and okay with that.”
Litwin spoke of a county liability release that was acceptable to the sitting county commissioners and Mr. Keller’s attorney.
County Commissioner Tom Henry was present and nodded agreement on behalf of the commissioners.
A vote was taken on a motion that would hold the county harmless and that no occupancy would take place until the highway occupancy permit was acquired.
It passed unanimously, 7-0, with Sandy Boyle absent from the meeting. There is also one vacancy on the planning body.
The planning commission then moved on a $5 million office and warehouse facility for BKV Operating LLC on the top of Mile Hill, just west of Tunkhannock Borough and situated next to the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau on a 5.5 acre parcel which the developer now owns.
Mic Goodwin, who had a hand in that site development, told the planners that BKV also did not have an HOP but there would be much less - calling it minimal - impact compared to the other plan.
He saw as the only real issue, and it wasn’t before the planning body was that the developers would like to use Treible Road - a dirt road - for construction access.
It was noted the 30-day period review by Tunkhannock Township had passed.
The body again voted, 7-0, in favor of the BKV plan.
Also on the agenda, was a submission acceptance for a plan to put a Dollar General store in Meshoppen.
Farber said the plan was an adjustment of previous ones floating around as the developer attempted to get waivers to meet restrictions. But no formal submission had ever taken place.
In previous PC meetings Dollar General has sent a spokesman from its corporate office in Tennessee, but on this night, it sent Michael Lusaitis, an engineer with Steckbeck Engineering & Surveying in Lebanon, Pa.
He spoke of a new floor plan of 9,100 square feet, and asked about parking spaces and nuances of the planning process in Wyoming County.
Farber suggested he reach out to her office the next day.
After offering to submit a plan for review, the planning body voted 7-0 Wednesday to accept it so the county’s engineer could review it.
Under old business, Farber noted that the county’s Comprehensive Plan had been adopted by the Wyoming County commissioners on April 30.
Under new business, she noted that a consultant had been accepted for a Wyoming County Greenways, Trails & Open Space Plan. She added that she had been receiving responses of individuals interested in being on the steering committee for the plan, and would announce a kickoff meeting soon.