Parkland Press

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Fast-food restaurant planned for Broadway and Cetronia Road

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

South Whitehall commissioners have granted approval to KRE Spring View Commercial for a fast-food restaurant on a one acre site at the southeast corner of the Broadway and Cetronia Road intersection.

The proposed 3,400-square-foot building includes 34 parking spaces. A drive-thru is not planned, however.

For two hours at their Jan. 15 meeting, commissioners discussed KRE’s request for a left-turn lane from the restaurant driveway onto Broadway.

There were quite a few objections to the plan.

On the Cetronia Road side of the property, a left turn is not permitted.

KRE representative Ed Murphy commented on the issue.

“The property becomes valueless without the left turn at Broadway,” Murphy said.

Commissioner Michael Wolk took the other side.

“Allowing a left turn is a hazard,” Wolk said. “Avoid this hazard and have it right turn only.”

Wolk objected to KRE’s waiver request for only a 150-foot distance from the Broadway access point to Cetronia Road, rather than the 300 feet required in the ordinance.

Noah Chrismer, director of planning and entitlements for KRE, commented on the board’s resistance to the waiver and the left turn.

“I’m having a difficult time,” Chrismer said.

“We went to the public safety commission. They recommended it.

“The planning commission recommended it. We worked hard to make the plan as safe as possible.”

He continued his defense of the waiver request and left turn for Broadway.

“If we did not have a narrow lot, we would do it differently,” Chrismer said. “That’s why we’re here for a waiver.”

Commissioner Matt Mobilio added his comments on the topic.

“The landowner has a right to develop the property,” Mobilio said. “If we turn down the waiver, it might just become a grassy field.”

“Where do we draw the line?” Commissioner Diane Kelly asked.

She noted the 300-foot requirement in the ordinance was probably researched before it became a regulation.

Murphy feared the property might become “sterilized” without the left turn onto Broadway.

“We had a reasonable expectation we’d get some use out of this,” he said.

Resident Manly Offutt commented.

“I hope the board makes sure this is safe enough for the people who use it,” Offutt said.

Because the matter was discussed extensively at a December 2019 meeting with former commissioners who may have had different comments than the new board, Solicitor Joe Zator said the matter could be reviewed in an executive session.

When Zator and the five board members returned, Commissioner Joe Setton made a motion to approve the resolution granting KRE permission to proceed with the restaurant, the waiver, and the left turn.

Setton, Mobilio and President Christina “Tori” Morgan voted in favor of the motion.

Mobilio reported he was originally opposed to the approval but was concerned with litigation which might come because of actions by the previous board.

Commissioners Kelly and Wolk voted against approval.

“I couldn’t vote yes on something that would jeopardize safety,” Wolk said.

KRE representatives indicated they will work with a broker to find a restaurant for the site.