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Eldred OKs one of two Dollar General plans

Dollar General was hoping to get conditional approval of two plans at the Eldred Township supervisors meeting Wednesday night. They got one.

The store chain, through the developer CGB Properties and the engineering firm Livic Civil, was seeking conditional approval of a minor subdivision plan, as well as conditional approval of the land development plan.

The supervisors granted the approval of the minor subdivision, which involves separating the 2.8 acres to be sold for the store and its parking lot from the remaining 17 acres still owned by the seller of the land.

The store, which will be located on Kunkletown Road, will be 9,100 square feet in size with 27 parking spaces, said Justin Ross, principal of Livic Civil in Selinsgrove. There will be curbing around the perimeter of the property and extensive landscaping.

He also told supervisors that operating hours would be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Staff would arrive a half-hour before opening and leave within a half-hour after closing.

As for truck traffic, there would be one tractor-trailer delivery per week during off peak hours. Small delivery trucks will arrive throughout the week.

Ross said the land development plans also include improving the sight line where the driveway ties into the roadway. The developer will push the embankment back 15 to 20 feet, which will improve the sight distance. They will also widen the shoulder area with 4 feet of new paving beyond the street line. It isn’t a third lane, just an area to pull off if needed.

In addition to approving the subdivision, the supervisors also granted a waiver involving the grading of the driveway into the store parking lot.

The township’s ordinance requires the grading for a leveling out section of the roadway to not exceed a 4% grade for 25 feet.

Ross said most municipalities have this requirement so that the driveway flattens out so that if a vehicle slides, then there is enough room for it to stop before going into the roadway.

The problem is that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation wants the section of the driveway connected to the roadway to match the downward slope of the shoulder, which is 6%. In order to then come up 4% to meet the township’s ordinance, some vehicles would bottom out, Ross said. He requested that the township allow the developer to do a 2% upward grade instead.

The supervisors did not approve the land development plan. There are some loose ends involving the paperwork that need to be tied up before conditional approval will be granted.

The store was given an extension to Oct. 31 to complete these tasks. The land development plan will be on the agenda for the supervisors meeting in October, said Ann Velopolcek, the township secretary.

One issue that was of concern to the supervisors is the catch basin for stormwater drainage at the base of the property in PennDOT’s right of way. PennDOT is requiring that Dollar General put in the catch basin, but wants the township to be the applicant for the permit. Responsibility for the long-term maintenance of the pipe could fall on the township. The basin would catch water runoff on the state road.

Brien Kocher, the engineer for the township, said the driveway going into the new store is also the same road that the sellers will use to access the rest of their property, so it will never be a township road. For this reason, he doesn’t understand why PennDOT is requesting the township to be the applicant.

“They’re kind of stuck between a rock and hard place,” Kocher said about the developer. “PennDOT’s saying you can’t be the applicant.”

Ross said the agreement between the developer and the township can state that Dollar General is responsible for the installation, inspection and maintenance for the life of the pipe. The developer can’t get the highway occupancy permit until the township agrees to apply for the permit, he said.

Kocher said, “PennDOT is not requiring you to do it. PennDOT is not allowing them to do it.”

Kocher said he has seen instances where municipalities have said no, but he doesn’t know how it was resolved. He has seen agreements like the one Ross suggested. If the store goes out of business, then maintenance reverts back to the township.

“PennDOT doesn’t want to go chasing all of these individuals. They know where you are,” Kocher said.