McDonald’s may arrive in short order

By on December 18, 2013

Marketplace restaurant to have two drive-through lines merge toward single pick-up window

The unmistakable golden arches and brick façade were on the drawing board in Ephrata Township on Tuesday night.

The zoning board reviewed a handful of variance and zoning exception requests from McDonald’s USA, which plans a new 4,000-square-foot, drive-through restaurant at Ephrata Marketplace at 866 E. Main St.

The company had requested a special zoning exception to allow 15 of the required 41 parking spaces to be in the adjacent Giant shopping center parking lot.

It had also suggested an alternative plan to reduce the total number of parking spaces to 27.

At the hearing Tuesday, McDonald’s representative Mike Jeitner, of Bohler Engineering, noted that the restaurant would have twin drive-through order lines that would merge into one pick-up window.

Jeitner said McDonald’s expects to serve 70 percent of orders in the drive-through lanes.

He said the proposed restaurant will have 70 seats and 12 employees working and require parking spaces in the “mid 20s or low 30s.”

Steve Sawyer, Ephrata Township zoning officer, said McDonald’s use of Giant lot parking spots shouldn’t be a problem since that lot has 371 parking spots but is only required to have 330.

The proposed building will have a small monument sign that is part of “McDonald’s new look,” Jeitner said.

McDonald’s wants to post a smaller 16-by-8-foot sign that will be visible to eastbound travelers on Route 322 that is closer to the road than is regularly permitted.

Sawyer said that sign should not be a problem as long as the sign is placed no closer to a right-of-way than the size of the sign.

McDonald’s USA typically owns the leases on its restaurant and manages legal, zoning and other local municipal matters. It has yet to name the franchisee who’ll operate the restaurant at Ephrata Marketplace.

McDonald’s – which will build on lot four on the eastern-most part of the complex – is also seeking a variance allowing an eight-foot trash enclosure instead of the maximum of six feet allowed by the zoning ordinances.

The company said many of the variances requested are necessary because of the odd shape of the property – which will be near a separate entrance east of Ephrata Marketplace’s main entrance on Route 322 and Pleasant Valley Road.

The company noted that the additional right-of-way and the irregularly shaped “configuration of the property makes it impossible to comply with the ordinance as to all of the dimensional requirements.”

Prior to the meeting, Ed Fetter of RVG Management, the developer of the Ephrata Marketplace complex, said McDonald’s construction “will commence after all approvals are received.”

He said Five Guys Burgers should open next month along with Fratelli’s Pizza, while and Golden Chicken is expected to open its doors in February.

A deal is very close with a prominent coffee shop, Fetter added.

He expects the three other suites next to the Giant to “be filled soon and Ephrata Marketplace by late spring will be full and open.”

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