New Dollar General store hits snag at Antrim Township meeting

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Representatives from Dollar General are in talks with Antrim Township on establishing a store on South U.S. 11. They said if it went through, they believed the store at 500 N. Antrim Way would close. The developers and the township disagree on where the driveway should be, and who it should serve.

Developers for a proposed Dollar General store on U.S. 11 South encountered new information at the July 14 meeting of the Antrim Township board of supervisors.

Jim Miller Jr., principal with MBC Development LP, Schuylkill Haven, said after the meeting that two issues on the plan were a surprise to him and Robert Sharrah, consultant from Sharrah Design Group, Inc., Gettysburg.

The two appeared before supervisors James Byers, John Alleman, Pat Heraty, Rick Baer and Fred Young III. Property owners Betty Myers and Tom Myers were also in the audience.

Miller explained that Dollar General stores were not franchises. Private parties put up the buildings and rented them back to the company. He had asked Antrim for a modification request from a required shared driveway on the two lots for sale by the Myers’. He had submitted plans for Lot 2, the larger of the pair.

The Antrim Township Planning Commission had reviewed the plans on July 6 and voted 2-2 on allowing the modification.

The township wanted the driveway flush with the southern entrance to Greenview Drive. Antrim zoning officer Sylvia House said the ordinance and Comprehensive Plan encouraged shared access to avoid traffic congestion.

The developers wanted a driveway farther south with better sight distance. They also did not want the complications of splitting maintenance responsibilities.

Sharrah said, “There are so many entanglements with shared driveways. It could cause internal confusion.”

Miller added that putting the driveway on the north end would reduce the size of Lot 1, and he had no idea who would move in next door.  They weren’t compatible with a bar or another discount store, for instance. Tractor-trailers also would not be able to get to the bay doors.

House suggested he build a mirror image of the layout, so the deliveries would be on the Lot 1 side, and he could put use restrictions on the sale of the other parcel.

The shared driveway expectation was part of the revised township ordinance enacted in November 2014. It stated, “Shared accesses are encouraged when practicable. When a new access is proposed along Williamsport Pike, Route 11, or Route 16; shared accesses shall be planned for and provided.”

House also added an easement for the property on the south side, which was private land not currently for sale, and a right-of-way to the west toward I-81.

They were options that would be useful for future development. These were not on previous Dollar General documents.

The clauses were new to Miller, although House later said she had spoken about them to Sharrah on the telephone. She said the easement, an interconnection, had been required for years and had to be provided for. Miller considered the space a taking of his property and Sharrah said it could create a “sticky situation”. What if he chose to sell the easement to the future neighbor for $1 million?

The board voted 4-1 to require a shared driveway across from Greenview Drive, with the easement intact, but the right-of-way eliminated. Baer opposed the motion.

Miller said, “We’ll try to make it work.”

In other business, the board authorized Antrim to start the legal proceedings to abandon Snyder Road. Township administrator Brad Graham said the new owner adjacent to the road had asked that it occur. Antrim solicitor John Lisko said a hearing would need to take place after the nearby property owners had been notified. The short road intersected with Guitner. The supervisors were open to the idea, stating they had wanted to turn over the road for years.