LH Planning Commission approves development plans

PHOTO PROVIDED Pictured is a digital rendering of the Lucky 7 Truck Plaza, which will be built along Walnut Street just off the Route 220 exit. Construction should begin sometime in the spring of 2019 with completion expected in December 2019.

LOCK HAVEN — Land development plans for the Lucky 7 Travel Plaza were approved at Tuesday night’s Planning Commission meeting.

President of VASAS Inc. Sonny Singh, owner of the property along Walnut Street, and Bob Myers, an engineering contractor for Hawbaker Engineering out of State College, attended the meeting to answer questions.

Code and Zoning Officer Cyndi Walker said VASAS Inc. was compliant with all city regulations but asked for the waiver of one ordinance.

The ordinance requires a perimeter of planting outside of the parking lot when it’s within five feet of another lot or roadway.

The company requested the waiver because the planned building as well as the existing landscape provided a buffer for every parking area except the northern lot, she said.

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS Demolition of the old Lucky 7 building began in November and has continued into this month.

“The land itself creates a screen,” she said.

The only lot that will require a buffer is located along Walnut Street near the building’s right-of-way and the company plans to place one there, she said.

City Engineer Jason Dershem is reviewing the proposed plans and looking into storm water drainage as well as making sure the plans meet all requirements, she said.

The approximately 10,000 square foot building will consist of a convenience store and a Wayback Burger with five gas pumps, four diesel pumps and two entrances and exits, Myers said.

Wayback Burger is a Delaware-based restaurant that serves typical fast food style meals with some local twists.

A drive-thru will not be installed in the restaurant, he added.

There will be 59 parking spaces surrounding the building, seven more than the city’s regulation of 52, including the truck parking in the back of the building for overnight drivers, he continued. Showers will also be available for drivers who are parking overnight, he said.

The truck stop is located near First Quality’s new truck entrance, which runs along the railroad tracks, and will keep most truck traffic on Walnut Street, he said.

The city recently replaced water lines and repaved Walnut Street, upgrading it to a higher quality in comparison to most city streets in an effort to prepare for heavy truck traffic, Walker said.

VASAS Inc. has also agreed to clear out all the brush and trees in the area so drivers on Route 220 will have a clear view of the truck stop, she added.

“Nothing’s going to obscure the building,” she said.

All seven planning commission members were buzzing with excitement as they unanimously approved the development plans, including the waiver of the buffer ordinance, with a motion by Barb Masorti, seconded by Mary Coploff.


Planning Commission members also approved the subdivision of a 10- by 180-foot strip of land off Walnut Street to be used for SEDA COG Joint Rail Authority’s truck entrance into First Quality.

SEDA COG is working with First Quality Tissue to reduce truck traffic in the city by constructing the access road.

Once completed, all traffic will be directed off Route 220 onto Paul Mack Boulevard, then to Walnut Street where trucks can take the access road, just east of the tracks, to the First Quality plants in Castanea Township.

SEDA COG Executive Director Jeff Stover said the small piece of land was needed for the road to be considered a city street, as well as for additional placement of signage.

“It’s pretty small, but an important piece,” he said.

The land is owned by Frank W. and Darlene Rothrock, Stover said.

The subdivision was approved unanimously through a motion made by Don Powers and seconded by Mary Coploff.


Also Tuesday night, the planning commission reviewed the replacement of four existing wooden poles at four different locations in the city by Mobilitie LLC.

All four poles are located in public right-of-ways.

The replacement and placing of additional equipment on each pole must be approved by city council during a Conditional Use Hearing.

Robert Nopp, an engineer for Mobilitie, said his Chicago-based company is contracted by international phone company Sprint to place equipment on these poles to enhance cell phone use in the area.

The poles are located at 318 N. Jay Street; the corner of South Jones and Peach streets; corner of West Bald Eagle and South Summit streets and the corner of First and West Church streets.

Studies done by Sprint showed that there was a lot of dropped data and lost signals in these areas, he said.

To improve this, Mobilitie will work with PPL to replace these poles, raising them 7 to 10 feet higher and placing a 3-foot tall antenna, he said.

“These antennas are going to help that,” he said.

The highest pole will be 40 feet and have a 400- to 500-foot range, he said.

Each pole will be used for electrical lines by PPL and also boost cell phone signals for Sprint, he said.

If any maintenance must be made, Mobilitie will be able to come and make the improvements as needed as long as they’re minor, he said.

If the entire design of the antenna were to change, the company would have to seek approval from city council again, he said.

In an area, such as Lock Haven, which is very heavily populated by Verizon Wireless users, Nopp said these antennas will only effect those who use Sprint.

A motion was made by planning commission member Josh Grimes to offer favorable review of the pole replacement to council. It was seconded by Mary Coploff and agreed through unanimous vote.

The matter will be taken before council at one of their January meetings.