The proposed Rutter’s convenience store on the site of Sittler Golf Center in Maxatawny Township hit a snag over the lay of the land.
While the zoners granted a host of variances for parking, lighting and other aspects of the 14.9-acre site, they declined to issue a variance for an entrance/exit on Route 222.
The landmark golf center lies significantly below the contour of Route 222, and Rutter’s designed the driveway with a 9 percent grade. The maximum allowable under the zoning ordinance is 7 percent.
Christopher Falencki, township engineer, raised concerns about the steepness of the grade, particularly during snowstorms.
Pressed by Falencki, a Rutter’s spokesman said it might be possible to reduce the grade to 7.5 or 8 percent. He cautioned, however, that modifying the grade could affect the design of two driveways on nearby Long Lane Road.
Rutter’s can appeal the decision to Berks County Court.
Shane Rohrbaugh, Rutter’s associate general counsel, gave no indication of the York-based firm’s plans.
The site is being developed by M&G Realty Inc., a Rutter’s holding company, Rohrbaugh said.
Rutter’s plans for the site, which occupies the northwest corner at Route 222 and Long Lane Road, became clearer in more than two hours of testimony.
The landmark Sittler Golf Center at the site, with its miniature golf course and driving range, will be dismantled.
In its place would be a 10,257 square-foot convenience store and restaurant facing Route 222.
In front of the store, there would be seven fuel islands capable of handling 14 vehicles. To the rear would be five diesel fueling stations.
The site would have 90 parking places for cars and 36 for tractor-trailers, or 126 total. That’s 11 less than the 137 required by the zoning ordinance in a C-1 commercial district.
Rutter’s noted that many customers leave their vehicles at the pump when entering the store. In effect, they are parking places that were not counted in the 126.
In its presentation, Rutter’s made it clear the site is designed with tractor-trailers in mind. PennDOT estimates nearly 2,500 rigs travel Route 222 daily, Rutter’s said.
In its variance request, Rutter’s asked and was granted wider driveways to accommodate the turning radius of rigs.
More traffic concerns
Gerald Reimert, zoning board member, asked how the design would be impacted by PennDOT’s plans to construct a roundabout at Route 222 and Long Lane Road.
A Rutter’s consultant testified that PennDOT was aware of its plans and raised no objections. The driveways were far enough away from the roundabout to not present a problem.
PennDOT has approved Rutter’s traffic impact study, but had not yet granted a highway occupancy permit.
The driveway on Route 222 would be opposite Quarry Road. Of the two on Long Lane Road, the northernmost would be opposite Tomahawk Drive in Arrowhead Business and Industrial Park.
Rutter’s plans to subdivide the golf center lot, with plans to develop the western portion bordering Haldeman Ford.
Thomas Haldeman, who represented the dealership, asked how the tract would be maintained. Rutter’s said initially it would be maintained as lawn. It could become the site of a strip mall or office complex.