A new Asian retail market has been proposed along North Atherton Street and the Patton Township Supervisors are expected to vote on the land use plan on Wednesday.
J&C Market is an Asian retail marketplace “specializing in Asian food and other retail products,” the Patton Township Planning Commission agenda says. It is proposed for 1869 North Atherton Street, formerly Lohr’s Garage, Patton Township.
The Patton Township Planning Commission recommended the project for approval with several conditions during its Meet Monday evening. Ken Estep, project manager at Mid-Penn Engineering, presented the final land development plan for J&C Market.
The proposed one-storey building will have a total area of 6,282 square feet. The project will involve the complete renovation of the building, including an addition of 2,522 square feet, said Alexandra Castrechini, director of engineering, urban planning and zoning for the township. There will be 26 parking spaces.
Estep guided the planning commission through the floor plan, which shows shelving and freezer space, as well as a food preparation area.
“They sell and offer groceries for sale at the market, like you would in many grocery stores,” Estep said. “… There is no seating inside. This is not a restaurant, it is strictly a market-related food prep area.
The plans show three different payment locations in the store, Estep said.
Brian Rater, chairman of the Planning Commission, said the project was “exciting”. He noted some concerns including foot traffic as there is a steep embankment behind the building. He said when Lohr’s garage was first proposed and put in place, there wasn’t much development behind the plot, but that has obviously changed.
“So many things have changed. Particularly from a bus stop, Trader Joe’s, I feel like it would be very common for people to run errands here, to walk, to go behind the establishment, to hit Trader Joe’s then maybe head over to… Wegmans,” appraiser said. “I understand we have a level issue here, but I think people will just step on the landscaping and go where they naturally want to go.”
He asked if they could put a sidewalk there to help with that flow. Patton Township Superintendent Doug Erickson said stairs would be possible, rather than a sidewalk.
Plans show that there will be an entrance and exit connected to the eastbound lane on North Atherton and people will only be able to turn right from the exit. Existing pedestrian crossings would be repainted and signs would be posted to ease traffic flow, Estep said.
An existing driveway will remain, according to plans, and will be used for truck deliveries.
“It’s difficult to get big trucks in and out. We can get them there, but it’s very difficult to rotate them on site,” Estep said. He said he had conversations with the state Department of Transportation, which recommended that they add soundtracks to the area to discourage other motorists from entering the site that way.
Some members of the planning commission were concerned that the soundtracks would do little to deter other motorists. Because it also crosses a sidewalk, it could potentially be dangerous for crossing pedestrians. Estep said there will be a “do not enter” sign and potentially a “truck deliveries only” sign.
For pedestrian safety, one recommendation was to remove the sidewalk and replace it with asphalt and paint it with stripes so pedestrians know they are on a crosswalk.
The Board has conditionally recommended to the Supervisory Board to approve the plan, which is on the agenda for Wednesday.
The conditions are as follows:
Include a bike rack for four short-term bike parking spaces
Include a set of stairs at the rear of the property so people can walk to the bus stop and the sidewalk along Boal Alley, and provide lighting on the stairs
Adjust the location of some trees so that landscaping does not obstruct sight distance or recycling/waste operations
Change the walkway material behind the rumble strips from concrete to asphalt and mark it as a crosswalk, with PennDOT approval
Determine if the paving under the dumpster should be concrete
This story was originally published September 13, 2022 4:49 p.m.