Royal Farms hearing concludes

The waiting has begun on whether Royal Farms will receive conditional use approval for a convenience store in Concord Township. Township Council concluded last night the evidentiary portion of a conditional use hearing on the proposal and now has 45 days to decide.

Royal Farms wants to put the store — with gasoline service — on a 1.4-acre lot in the split on Route 202 on the north side of Smithbridge Road.

There would be ingress and egress to and from both the northbound and southbound sides on the north side of the site, and 16 fueling stations on the Smithbridge Road side of the property, according to testimony from Jack Whisted, the company’s chief engineer.

Plans are for a 24/7 operation with the store selling sandwiches, beverages and fried chicken. Also proposed is a 12-seat coffee bar inside the 4,166 square foot store and the possibility of outdoor seating, though approval for outdoor seating is up to the council.

Currently, there is no plan to sell beer at the store. Should Royal Farms want to sell beer there in the future, however, it would have to go through another conditional use hearing for approval.

Traffic engineer Nicole Kline testified that improvements are planned for Smithbridge Road. Those improvements include creating a dedicated right turn lane on westbound Smithbridge for traffic to turn onto northbound 202 at Meghan’s Diner.

Another proposed change is to widen Smithbridge within the split so there could be dedicated left turn lanes. Kline said those left turn lanes would be half the length of the distance between the northbound and southbound lanes of 202.

Council President Dominic Pileggi said the township contacted neighboring property owners to get easements needed for the road widening. While the township acquires the easements, it’s Royal Farms’ responsibility to pay for them and the roadwork.

A third engineer, Project Manager Joe Russella, said there would be 37 total parking spaces. Township code calls for 17 spaces based on the size of the proposed store and an additional four spaces for employees.

With the hearing closed on April 18, the 45-day window for council’s decision closes June 2. Pileggi said the township would use its email list to let residents know when council will announce the decision.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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