By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
Hermitage Planning Commission members got their first look Monday at Speedway’s plan to build a full-service gas station at South Hermitage Road and Morefield Road.
Or, at least, three of them did, as the board lacked a quorum to formally review a sketch plan, a precursor to a full-fledged land development plan. Sketch plans allow commission members to comment on the plans before they have to make a recommendation on them.
City officials are trying to set up a new meeting, possibly next Monday, when the full board can act on a busy agenda, which includes proposals to build 11 new home lots in Pierce Bluffs and a new building for Fresnius Medical Care on the Hudson Holding Company lot in LindenPointe technical business park.
It will be up to Pennoni Associates Inc., Pittsburgh, the consulting firm hired by Speedway, whether they want to return at that meeting to present the sketch plan to more commission members.
The plan is part of Speedway’s move into Pennsylvania. The company wants to retrofit a number of Exxon stations it has bought, or build new ones, giving it a presence of 39 to 50 stations, said Dave Hohman, project manager for Pennoni.
The Hermitage location is the current site of the closed Rex TV building and Chiccarino’s restaurant.
“The client is aiming for a late July groundbreaking,” Hohman said.
Speedway is planning to have three entrances to the site, one from South Hermitage Road – officials are discussing with PennDOT about whether it will be a full access to northbound and southbound traffic or a right-only access available to northbound motorists – and two off Morefield. Justin J. Alexander of Pennoni said officials expect the Morefield entrances will be used mostly by tractor-trailers as the three diesel pump stations will be on that side of the property.
The station also will have six gasoline pump stations.
City Director of Planning and Development Marcia A. Hirschmann said city officials are talking with Pennoni about the architecture of the 1,390-square-foot building. The front entrance will face the gasoline pumps, meaning the back of the building will face Morefield and one side will face Hermitage Road. City officials want these sides to be attractive, she said.
Hohman said Speedway has agreed to add some faux windows on those sides to improve the look, screen the rooftop cooling and air handling units, and add more landscaping. City and design officials also are talking about widening the sidewalk that will be built.
Commission member Ed Benton asked how many people will work at the station. Hohman said he did not have that information, but would get it from Speedway and pass it along.