Taco Bell gets OK in Walnutport
An artist's rendering shows the Taco Bell planned for the site now occupied by Valley Pizza in Walnutport. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The 506 Old Main Street Valley Pizza in Walnutport is in the works to be revamped into a Taco Bell. KELLEY ANDRADE/TIMES NEWS
The Walnutport Zoning Board has approved variances to allow a proposed Taco Bell to move forward.
Walnutport Investors LLC, the owner of the Valley Pizza Restaurant at 506 Old Main St., requested exceptions to the borough's sign and screening ordinances.
John Pettit, project manager and engineer for the investor company, described the plans for the proposed restaurant.
The pizza shop and garage will be demolished and a 2,753-square-foot building with drive-thru window and outside patio will be constructed at the location. The building will include 66 seats inside and 11 seats on the patio.
The sign, street tree screening and a purposed trash enclosure were discussed during the hearing.
Jim Preston, the attorney for the investors, was also on hand to answer questions.
The sign in question will be a 23-foot-high pylon sign with a combined dimension of 93 square feet that will include Taco Bell and reader board signs raised at the same location as the current Valley Pizza sign.
The borough zoning ordinance requires four 24-square-foot signs no higher than 15 feet tall.
The board questioned if the sign would stand out or blend in with the surrounding area. Both Pettit and Preston assured the board it would.
The Taco Bell will be located at the busiest intersection in the borough and will complete a fast food trifecta once the construction is complete.
Pettit cited Burger King, McDonald's and Kmart signs as examples.
Burger King's sign reaches 20 feet tall and is a combined size of 91 square feet in dimension. Kmart's sign height is 35 feet tall and the golden arches of the McDonald's are about 100 square feet.
"The sign would be consistent with the surrounding area?" Preston asked Pettit.
He said it would.
The second issue was a purposed trash enclosure to be constructed near the existing enclosure on the rear corner of the property near the Lehigh Gap Street.
"The trash enclosure requires a 24-foot separation from street front," Pettit said.
"But the enclosure would have to go in the drive-through lane for that because of the yard front set back," he said.
He assured the board the enclosure would be recessed into the landscape.
"Anyone on Old Main and Lehigh streets won't be able to see it, because it will be constructed into the ground," he said.
Street tree screening was also addressed.
Pettit said the property is surrounded by four roadways and therefore has four separate "yard frontages" that have to meet zoning regulations.
"It creates a constraint. This is the first time I have seen a project with four setbacks," said Pettit.
The plan is to heavily screen the site of the property for the residential neighbors, with sparse covering on the intersection between Main Street and Riverview Drive, facing the four-way stop light.
"We are going to concentrate toward the residents. It will be shrubs and evergreens and we will work with the borough engineer for the plans," he said.
The next step in the demolition of Valley Pizza and construction of Taco Bell will be to develop the landscape plan. The restaurant is projected to be completed before the end of the year.