Sheetz meets with Lower Allen Township residents in attempt to calm megastore fears

Carlisle/West Shore

CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) — Sheetz representatives met what could be their new neighbors in Lower Allen Township on Wednesday, but not everyone has warm welcomes.

For a lot of people, the issue isn’t the gas station but variances it needs to expand from a standard size station into a megastore.

The proposed 12-pump, just over 6,000 square-foot super-store would be built at the intersection of Carlisle Road at Cedar Cliff Drive, right across from Cedar Cliff High School where lots of kids walk to school.

“I think any resident should be concerned,” said Michelle Tarquino, a Lower Allen Township resident.

It’s concerns like increased traffic to an already congested area and pedestrian safety that has Lower Allen residents stirring.

“I think this should really be planned not in a silo, but holistically, as well, with all surrounding municipalities, and I’m not sure that’s been taken into consideration,” Tarquino said.

For many, the main sticking point is the size of the Sheetz and tweaking strict township zoning laws set in place to protect residential areas.

“What they’re proposing for this particular location, is it the right size for the amount of land that’s there?” asked Christopher Catherman, a Lower Allen resident who lives close to the proposed site.

Sheetz reps did their best to calm fears on Wednesday. They said they aren’t married to the idea of a megastore.

“We are not committing to anything. We are wanting to bring a store to the community, and when we do that, we do want to offer as much space as we can to our customers,” said Nick Ruffner, a Sheetz public relations manager.

Ruffner said they’re committed to being good neighbors, no matter the size. They donate $2,500 to local food banks every time they open a store, but their mentality is bigger is better for customers, especially in close proximity to Interstate-83.

“That really adds to convenience because we do consider ourselves to be a one-stop shop. We want our customers to have room to move around the store,” Ruffner said.

Sheetz’s traffic study showed traffic will increase by 140 cars at the intersection during peak hours.

Next Thursday, Lower Allen’s Zoning Board will consider Sheetz’s request to exceed the current ordinances, allowing for a store double the size of the Gulf that’s currently sitting on the property. The board then has 45 days to make a decision.

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