‘Giant’ hurdle cleared in Twp

By on March 14, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

After what seemed like a million tiny steps for Ephrata Township Supervisors, it was one Giant step forward for a new shopping complex.

At last Tuesday evening’s supervisors meeting, plans were reviewed article by article and submitted for approval for the complex projected for a new Giant grocery store and a number of retail outlets just west of the borough. At hand was the preliminary land development plan for the complex.

The new location will be called The Ephrata Marketplace, located at the intersection of Route 322 and Pleasant Valley Road. In all, 24 acres will be acquired and developed into a planned 86,000 square foot retail grocery store to which will be attached two smaller, yet to be determined retail operations. The properties along Route 322 will be razed and the lots combined to make three out-parcel properties. Developers anticipate a bank and perhaps an eatery or two filling in those pad sites.

Tuesday evening’s marathon session of the board of supervisors was just the latest round of approvals required before any property can be formally acquired and any earth moved. Plans have also been carefully reviewed by the Lancaster County Planning Commission as well as the township’s own planning commission and zoning hearing board.

PennDOT, too, has been instrumental in working with the developer and township officials because the intersection and roadway around the site will need to be significantly restructured. This will mean widening the roadway along Route 322, reconstructing the roadway leading off 322 into the complex and redesignating turn lanes to better control traffic.

Supervisors raised concerns with the traffic patterns created by the store, noting the high frequency of pedestrian, bicycle and buggy use of the roadbed. They were also concerned about how tractor trailers entering and exiting the complex would fare, especially in heavy traffic. John Murphy, engineer on the project for the developer as well as township engineer Ben Webber, explained that there has been and will continue to be, on-going dialogue with PennDOT on creating the very best plan for traffic safety.

With the process moving ahead, this particular meeting took a very close look at the plans, discussing everything from the size of trees to be located on the out-parcel lots to storm water management plans.

"The requirements of the township are more restrictive than the best management practices advocated by the state, therefore the modification request (for storm water management) should be granted," noted Webber. "The developer is just not able to meet the township requirements but they do meet the state requirements."

Township Manager Steve Sawyer added that the waiver was the same type of waiver granted to the LCBC church currently under construction on the lot of the former Bergstrasse Elementary School.

Webber explained to supervisors that the geography of the land was not conducive for the best drainage. Therefore, a large containment facility would be located beneath the store’s parking lot and designed to facilitate a slower infiltration.

In other township news carried out on a night dominated by development plans, supervisors reviews plans for AB Martin Roofing Supply to develop the former Wickes Lumber site at the corner of Route 272 and Garden Spot Road. Plans call for traffic flow pattern changes to move the current entry point and add an access drive further down Garden Spot Road.

Supervisors also discussed township funding of the county drug task force. Funding is recommended at $1 per capita. Sawyer said he had confirmed with Ephrata Borough Manager Bob Thompson that a contribution to the task force had been a part of the overall police budget, so while the township did not make a direct contribution to the task force, it had nonetheless done so in paying its portion of the overall police budget. For the 2013 budget year, supervisors will look at making a contribution directly to the task force.

Supervisors approved the next phase of the playground at the new Township Community Park. That phase is expected to cost $35,895.79 for a safety surface and equipment geared for children ages 2-5. This equipment is being purchased through the COSTARS program with each piece custom made to fit the project. A gazebo will be included in the next phase, with Sawyer talking with two local builders for pricing.

For additional information on Ephrata Township, visit ephratatownship.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your feedback via e-mail at klingerglobal@gmail.com. More GIANT, page A18

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