Sheetz granted sign variance for second store

Sheetz officials released a site rendering of its convenience store plan for the corner of Grindstone Hill Road and Buchanan Trail East. No construction timeframe has been determined. The store will feature modern food services along with seven gas pumps and a self-serve car wash.

   Sheetz Corporation is one step closer to establishing a second store in Greencastle. Company representatives asked the Antrim Township Zoning Hearing Board Aug. 13 for an exception to sign requirements for its proposed new facility at the southeast corner of Grindstone Hill Road and Buchanan Trail East. The hearing board found the rationale compelling and unanimously approved the request.

Mike LaCesa, Director of Real Estate, Bob Franks, Engineering and Permit Project Manager, and John Kachur, legal counsel, testified before Ronald Cordell, Rodney Zeger, Gary Eberly, Phil Oberholzer and Warren Eichelberger.

LaCesa explained that Sheetz wanted a 95 square foot sign, more than the 50 square feet allowed by ordinance, so that customers could adequately  read the information presented. The sign would be at the corner and advertise the logo, fuel price, car wash and espresso bar. It would stand just over 20 feet tall.

"When motorists can't see the sign, that's why they slow down and hesitate, and there are accidents," he said. "That's why we want it high."

The three submitted photographs of signs of other businesses near Exit 5 which were larger than allowed by the township code. Antrim Zoning Officer Sylvia House later stated the signs were grandfathered in when the ordinance was created, but that the ordinance was in line for some changes anyway, and the township had no objections to the variance.

The new Sheetz

Officials plan to keep the current Sheetz at 215 W. Baltimore St. open. The new store east of Greencastle will be 4,997 square feet with seven pumps to serve 14 vehicles. Access to the lot will be allowed from both roads, but exiting onto Buchanan will be a right turn only. People heading west will have to exit onto Grindstone.

The site design is the new prototype for the chain, said LaCesa, with a brick front, outdoor seating, a restaurant, and a self-serve car wash. The trash area will be enclosed by brick and the 3.4 acre property will be landscaped. He said the lighting will be contained but enough so that people feel safe. The store will be open 24 hours.

Franks said the company will get signage on I-81 through PennDOT to alert travelers to their presence, and they will also rely on local customers.

No construction timeline has been set yet. Once all permits are in place that will be announced.

A farewell

Delores Creager was one of five residents who attended the hearing, none of whom had any objections. She was interested because her childhood home on the corner is slated to be torn down for the new Sheetz. Stepfather and mother Herman and Kathryn Potter built the house in 1950. "We moved in the year I started school," she said, "and I moved out six years ago."

She sold to a neighbor who eventually sold to Bowman Corp. in Williamsport, Md., who is leasing the land to Sheetz.

Creager remembered the people who lived in the vicinity those decades ago, most of whom have moved away or died. As a youngster she walked or rode her bicycle along the roads, often into town, and didn't have to worry about the traffic.

"I have fond memories but no regrets," she said. However, she wondered what would happen to the 100 percent oak interior of the house. She hoped someone was aware of it and would be able to salvage it.