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A Giant coming to Main Street?
By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
It appears there may be some truth to the giant rumors around town that a new Giant Grocery Store could be coming to Ephrata.
While plans are still in the very preliminary stages, The Ephrata Review has been able to confirm that Giant Foods is working with township officials and have every intention of moving forward with a new store to be built on East Main Street, in the area between Pleasant Valley Road and Wal-Mart. It has also been confirmed that the corporation is working through real estate developer William A. Aiello, of WAM Enterprises based in Lemoyne.
"I would say the project is not a definite go but the developers seem very committed at this point," noted township manager Steve Sawyer.
The developer has already completed a traffic study of the area and submitted the findings to PennDOT for further consideration. The plan calls for a new grocery store with two additional retail sites included in the complex. Several of the properties along Route 322 would likely be removed and re-subdivided to become three outparcels.
According to township supervisor John Weber, there is speculation that one of those outparcel plots could become a branch bank location.
Weber was optimistic that the project would continue to move forward.
"From the township’s perspective, if they meet all requirements for subdivision, land development and storm water plans as well as PennDOT requirements, then it would look like a definite go," said Weber.
Both Weber, and Sawyer have confirmed that negotiations are on-going with several property owners from what remains of the Speed Shop (which was destroyed by fire in December 2009) west to include the Edgar Martin tract. While official word on the exact status of each of these negotiations has not been released, Weber said he understood the Martin site was already under agreement as was the former Speed Shop site. He added that his understanding was that all the old buildings from Bachman’s Used Car lot down to the Honda Motor Cycle shop would be removed.
Weber was unclear on the status of the remaining property negotiations.
Weber added that initial feedback from PennDOT on the traffic study was also positive.
The next step in the process would be for the developer to submit initial land development plans, which Weber felt could be in hand within the next month or two. From there, the plan would need to be submitted to the Lancaster County Planning Commission for their approval and suggestions, then back to the Ephrata Township Planning Commission for their review and suggestions. Once it clears both planning commissions, the plans would then return to the board of supervisors for the appropriate approvals for land, traffic, storm and conditional use agreements.
That process can take between nine and 12 months.
Weber indicated that the developer would like to begin active work on the project as early as spring, 2011.
Gary P. Klinger welcomes your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. More GIANT, page A6