‘Taco the town’ Taco Bell plans submitted

By on January 28, 2015

It’s official: Taco Bell plans submitted to Ephrata Township.

Taco Bell light

Developer Richard Stauffer confirmed the long-running rumor Tuesday night by presenting a plan to build a Taco Bell before the Ephrata Township Planning Commission.

Stauffer, who owns property on both sides of Main Street that have been recently excavated, plans to build the Taco Bell in the lot between Arby’s and Ephrata Cycle Sports.

“Of course we still need the final approval by the supervisors, but we hope to begin building as soon as spring breaks,” said Stauffer.

Stauffer said construction would take four to five months. He hopes to have the restaurant open by Labor Day, 2015 if not sooner.

Homes which had been on that site were demolished late last year, setting off what became the “best-known, worst-kept secret” in town.

Residents here appear to favor the plans. There’s even a Facebook page titled “Ephrata needs a Taco Bell.”

The "Ephrata needs a Taco Bell" Facebook page.

The “Ephrata needs a Taco Bell” Facebook page.


Stauffer’s proposed restaurant pad site project can now begin to move through the final hurdles necessary before construction can begin.

The proposed  2,600-square-foot restaurant will be under the maximum sized building allowed for the 1.3 acres lot, said Chris Venarchik from the RGS engineering firm.

“Considering the shape, size and location of the lot, this is really the best use for the property,” Venarchik said.

Venarchik  represented Stauffer in presenting  preliminary development plans before planners.

Along the way, Venarchik worked through each of the various comments made as the plan progressed through the Lancaster County Planning Commission.

Township engineer Jim Caldwell, with Rettew Associates, was also present to discuss those comments which addressed issues ranging from traffic flow to curbing, from building set-backs to driveway alignments.

At each step along the way, commission members were satisfied with the manner in which the issues were addressed. In the end, each of the waivers and motions were unanimously approved by the planners.

Plans call for two access points  with  “right-in – right out” access to  allow westbound traffic on Route 322 to turn right into the site while those leaving could also turn right out of the site.

A second access is planned from the existing cul-de-sac which currently services Arby’s restaurant as well as the small strip mall containing Mr. Tire and Lancaster Mattress.

Township manager Steve Sawyer said that a long-standing traffic flow issue at the entrance to Walmart will be addressed.

Despite “no left turn” signs along the entrance meant to discourage drivers from turning left into Arby’s from the main Walmart access drive, many drivers ignore the signs, spurring many barely-missed collisions and angry horn-honking.

As part of the new development, the concrete median strip will be extended significantly past the Arby’s entrance to make such turns virtually impossible.

Following approval by the planning commission, Stauffer commented on what lies ahead.

For additional information on Ephrata Township, visit ephratatownship.org.

Gary P. Klinger welcomes your feedback via email at klingerglobal@gmail.com or on twitter at twitter.com/gpklinger.

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