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New Weis Market Could Get Fueling Stations

The Upper Moreland Commissioners reviewed a plan to incorporate gas stations at the grocery store planned for the Marketplace at Huntingdon Valley.

Site of the new Weis Market at the Marketplace. Credit: Theresa Katalinas
Site of the new Weis Market at the Marketplace. Credit: Theresa Katalinas
The new Weis Market under construction at the Marketplace at Huntingdon Valley may also have a small gas station incorporated into the property.

During the Upper Moreland Commissioners community development committee, backers of the project said the installation of a Gas-N-Go would be stationed in the parking lot of the new supermarket, located at 2100 County Line Road at the site of a former Pathmark.

The committee elected to pass the issue on to the full board, which would vote at its Sept. 9 meeting whether to hold a public hearing on the project. If so, the hearing would be scheduled for Oct. 7.

The  Gas-N-Go would consist of four dispensers with two pumps each and would be located at the front of the parking lot. There would also be a small market with only window access that would sell such items as cigarettes and small car-care products.

While the committee members present—Vice President Joseph Lavalle and Commissioner Kevin Spearing—and other commissioners in attendance were tentatively supportive of the concept of the project, they did review a number of concerns.

To proceed with the initiative, the commissioners would be required to amend a 1989 "covenant" in the township code that prevents the installation of fuel stations in certain instances.

Attorney Marc Jonas, representing Weis, contended that, when that provision was authored, the drafters were not envisioning the recent trend of small fuel entities being incorporated into larger properties.

Jonas said that 22 of Weis' 158 stores have Gas-N-Go's, including recently opened stores in Easton, Wyomissing and Fogelsville. Additionally, he noted, the gas component is becoming increasingly popular with other chain stores; of the 206 Giant stores in the area, 107 have fuel additions, as do about a quarter of the Safeway properties in the region, Jonas noted.

Spearing, however, asserted that the 1989 covenant could have conceivably sought to prevent the addition of such a fuel entity.

Township solicitor Kate Harper agreed that the proposal would fall under the guidelines of the provision, but suggested the commissioners could explore amending the covenant.

"I believe the covenant applies here, but it can be amended with a public hearing," she said. "I understand that there are nuances, but the wisest, safest course if the commissioners supported this use is to amend the covenant."

The board must also consider whether the project should be zoned as an accessory unit, which the backers believe it qualifies as.

The commissioners also raised the issue of traffic flow stemming from the Gas-N-Go.

Jonas said the project is not of the scale that it would affect traffic.

"There is an absolute absence of any impact," he said.

However, commissioners suggested that, especially at times of redemption periods for customers of Weis' loyalty program, there could be traffic congestion in the lot around the Gas-N-Go.

Jonas noted that there are a proposed 110 additional unused parking spots that Weis is planning for. He added that, if the project is approved, Weis could put directional signs, such as arrows on the ground and other signage, to ease traffic flow.
justme August 14, 2013 at 04:05 PM
I would love to see a gas station there. Since the Getty closed (at Newtown and Countyline) there isn't anything until the Sunoco at Warminster which is too high priced. Although, with only 4 dispensers I think the lines would be too long to make it worth going to. I also worry about the amount of parking spaces it will take. That parking lot is very congested (at least it was when Super Fresh was there- not with Pathmark though- that was a huge mistake). I'm sure the people sitting outside of Starbucks will enjoy watching and smelling a gas station. Well, maybe that isn't such a great location after all. I can't wait to see how this plays out.
Sarah K. August 18, 2013 at 06:27 PM
It is definitely not a good location for a gas station. It gets congested in there now, and the new market has not even opened yet. There is an old mechanics station across the street though, behind the Wawa. Perhaps that would be a good spot.
Zach Reichmann September 19, 2013 at 09:31 PM
they should just buy the wawa lot, its moving shop. And they let giant slid on this with there gas and go on the pizza hut lot.
justme September 29, 2013 at 08:11 AM
OK a month and 1/2 has passed and still no decision? The market is still not open. Now Wawa is going to have a gas station across the street. Weiss may as well decide NOT to put in pumps. I doubt their prices would be competitive with Wawa. Or if they can be, then go for it. But please lets make a decision before this decade is done... What is the holdup???

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