Tuesday, September 17, 2019


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Weis Market Neighbors: We Don’t Want Gas Station
Written by Kelly Chandler Staff Writer

                Several neighbors of the Weis Market in the 300 block of Pottstown Avenue in Pennsburg came out Tuesday night to tell borough officials they aren't interested in increasing traffic at the Pennsburg Square Shopping Center with the addition of a gas station.

                Matter of fact, they said they would like to see a wall or other sound barrier built between the shopping center and their W. Sixth Street homes.

                During a conditional use hearing for a proposed Weis Gas 'N' Go station in the shopping center, residents complained not only about problems with the existing facilities, including truck traffic and compressor noise at all hours, but also about their concerns fuel trucks for the gas station would go behind the building and past their homes to circumvent tricky turns in and out of the plaza.

                Residents, like Janice Chmielinski, said they were already unhappy about trash piled up outside the building and an alleged rodent problem.  And a gas station, proposed with six filling stations and a 210-sq.-ft. kiosk that would be open Weis store hours, would only add to an already bad situation, she said.

                She also disapproved of the plan presented by Weis' senior municipal engineer, David Leh of Gilmore and Associates, Trappe, that would see fuel tankers come in the lower entrance/exit to fill the gas station tanks, which would be located on the south side of the parking lot and go around the lot, past the front of Weis and other storefronts to the QNB office and out the other entrance/exit.

                Residents said they didn't believe that traffic, two or three times a week according to witness testimony, would be safe.     

                "We're really concerned about the traffic flow," said her husband, Allen Chmielinski. 

                "All turns have been templated and can be made safely," said Jack O'Hara of Weis Markets' legal affairs division.  Leh later testified, after conferring with a Weis lawyer, that trucks would alternately be able to go in the same entrance and have enough room to turn around in front of Weis after filling the fuel tanks to go back out the same way.

                Neighbors lamented the noise from the facility.

                "We work in the late hours and 3, 4 in the morning there is always noise.  Trucks are loading and unloading.  There is commotion going on 24/7.  We work hard and we don't have any privacy and we can't sleep," said Vijay Potharaj.  "They need to consider the residents and how it impacts their lives."

                Allen Chmielinski asked Weis corporate officials, "Could you build a wall to hide yourselves?"

                While company officials said a wall wasn't in their plans, Potharaj said he agreed a sound barrier should be built at the location.

                Pennsburg Solicitor Chuck Garner told residents the gas station use is allowed according to the zoning at the site, commercial.  He also told council before the hearing that the borough's planning commission approved of the gas station use.

                Council ultimately didn't take action after the hearing concluded.  They have 45 days to render a written decision to Weis on the use.

                In other news, Halloween trick-or-treating is scheduled for Oc.t 31 from 6-8 p.m.





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