Sheetz circling back to its Greencastle store site that was closed in 2014
"What's happening at the old Sheetz?"
It's a question that comes up periodically at Greencastle Borough Council meetings and around town since the convenience store at the intersection of West Baltimore Street (Route 16) and North Antrim Way (U.S. 11) closed seven years ago.
There's a good chance the answer is "A new Sheetz."
The possibility of Sheetz returning to an enlarged site at the west end of town was presented publicly for the first time at the Aug. 9 meeting of the Greencastle Planning Commission.
The Altoona-based company, with hundreds of convenience stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, is taking a hard look at its former location.
However, it is still early in the process, according to Steve Lyncha, engineering/permits project manager for Sheetz. The company needs to go through the entire process, such as a traffic study, plans for utilities and other logistics, before making a final decision.
The company is working with Steve Eby, the property owner, and does want to put a new store at the old location, Lyncha said.
The former store at 215 W. Baltimore St. closed on Sept. 11, 2014, the same day a new Sheetz opened along U.S. 11 at Exit 3 of Interstate 81 south of Greencastle. West of town, the Sheetz at the corner of Route 16 and Grindstone Hill Road was built in 2010.
Around the block
Eby owns the entire block bordered to the south by West Baltimore Street, the west by North Antrim Way, the north by West Madison Street and the east by the railroad tracks. That includes not just the vacant Sheetz, but also the former Jim's Tavern and the residential properties between North Carl Avenue and the railroad tracks.
Joe Gurney, director of Land Development for First Capital Engineering, talked to commission members and showed sketch plans of the proposed Sheetz.
Sheetz was on the commission's agenda for a review of the sketch plans and a waiver from submitting preliminary plans and going directly from the land development plan to final plans when the time comes.
Commission member Tony Homer said the waiver, which was granted, is just skipping a step and "we still have rights of final approval."
Chairman Ed Wine said he has some concerns about traffic, but believes they will be addressed in a final plan which would then be "fully vetted."
"The project does not propose new streets or public utility main extensions, and all improvements will be limited to the proposed property boundary and the road frontages," Gurney wrote in the project narrative and waiver request. "This is a waiver of procedure, not of design standards and will allow this project to proceed in a more expeditious manner."
Wine added the final plan will probably include "more paper than we know what to do with."
On the plans
Sheetz is proposing a 6,070-square-foot store on the 2.5-acre site. There would be a fuel canopy with six pumps or 12 fueling stations, as well as 47 parking spaces.
Access would be right turn only both in and out of the property on West Baltimore Street and North Antrim Way.
Traffic would be two ways from North Antrim Way to the one-lane railroad tunnel on West Madison Street.
Sheetz proposes to make Madison Street one way eastbound from the tunnel the short distance to North Jefferson Street, Gurney said.
Homer pointed out the only way to go south on U.S. 11 would be from Madison Street, which he called "an impossible left turn" due to the traffic.
Gurney said since U.S. 11 and Route 16 are state roads, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will have the final say in what Sheetz can and cannot do traffic-wise. He said Greencastle officials will be able to comment on the traffic plans.
"I worry about the traffic going south ... there's real potential for backup," Homer said. "It will be interesting to see what PennDOT has to say."
Other traffic concerns included more cars on North Jefferson and North Carlisle streets as drivers who now use Madison Street to avoid downtown traffic seek out new routes.
Asked about lighting, Lyncha said downcast, low-glare, LED lights are proposed, and detailed designs will be included in the land development plan.