By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — Plans for a new Weis Superstore on Route 522 were given conditional approval by the Selinsgrove Planning Commission on Wednesday, although members questioned potential traffic hazards, stormwater management and sewage issues.
Weis representatives sought approval to construct a 66,740-square-foot grocery store where beer and gasoline would be sold on a nearly 8-acre lot at Routes 522 and 204, diagonally across from the existing Weis store on Broad Street.
However, questions raised by borough engineer John Coukart delayed a recommendation from the planning commission.
Noting the visible frustration of Weis representatives, planning commission member Rocky Baer said the panel wasn’t trying to give them a hard time.
“Ultimately we’re depending on our engineer,” Baer said, referring to numerous questions Coukart raised about the proposal.
The issue that took up most of the more than two-hour discussion involved Coukart’s concern about a potential traffic hazard posed by a one-lane road for emergency vehicles departing from the adjacent Dauntless Hook & Ladder Fire Company into oncoming westbound traffic traveling on Route 522.
“We just don’t want anyone killed by a fire truck,” Baer said. Weis engineer Joe Gurney said the design is safe and added that the state Department of Transportation has approved the traffic study and DH&L members approve of the plan.
But Coukart — who criticized Weis for submitting plans for approval at the last minute — pointed out the state has not yet granted a highway occupancy permit for the emergency vehicle lane and additional turning lanes into the proposed store.
Although not opposed to the concept of providing emergency vehicles a way out onto Route 522, Coukart said it should be designed to reduce the risk to motorists.
At the end of the meeting, members of the planning commission voted to give conditional approval to the Weis plan.