The Unity Township Planning Commission on Wednesday voted to recommend preliminary and final site plan approvals for two planned commercial construction projects: A proposed Dollar General store along Route 30 near Beatty County Road and commercial “flex” space in Westmoreland Airpark.

Planning commission members and developers during Wednesday’s meeting hammered out details regarding the exterior finish of the proposed Dollar General store, after developers amended earlier plans for the site based on input from an earlier meeting with the planning commission.

William Owen, assistant vice president of engineering and permitting for PennTex, told the planning commission the firm will be submitting updated renderings based on Wednesday’s discussions as quickly as possible.

Among the changes from earlier designs, the store will feature a peaked roof rather than a flat one and will have a vestibule bumped out from the front of the store, facing Route 30, to comply with township requirements for buildings in the Route 30 corridor.

Plans still call for a 9,100-square-foot store, parking and loading space and a stormwater basin on the currently vacant property at the corner of Route 30 East and Smiths Hill Road.

Based on discussions Wednesday, the exterior of the building will now feature a combination of split face block masonry work and cement fiber siding, with a brown peaked roof designed to fit in with the style of the A&A Cycle Sports Indian motorcycle dealership across the highway.

Timothy Weinman, principal and vice chairman of PennTex Ventures, told the planning commission previously the planned discount retailer would represent a significant improvement to the vacant property.

“It’s a very worn site,” Weinman said of the current state of the property. “It’s overgrown, it has dilapidated, abandoned buildings. What we intend to do... we’re going to turn this terrible corner with ugly signage and not a very attractive entrance into our community into a beautifully landscaped and attractive building.”

He touted the jobs a new store would bring, as well as a boost in tax revenue once the property is developed.

Weinman said large trucks will visit the store about once per week, accessing the store from Route 30 East and backing into a loading area at the rear of the property. Smaller trucks hauling soft drinks, bread and other items will also make deliveries, he added, typically parking in the store’s parking lot.

Plans call for right-in, right-out access to and from Route 30 East with a secondary entrance to the parking lot from Smiths Hill Road. Motorists traveling west on Route 30 can already turn left onto Smiths Hill Road, he noted, and drivers coming from Smiths Hill Road can currently make left turns to Route 30 West.

Dollar General spokesperson Mary Kathryn Colbert previously told the Bulletin the proposed store would employ approximately six to 10 people.

The new Route 30 East location is being explored despite several Dollar General stores in the area, including a store at Latrobe 30 Shoppes in Unity Township and two stores in the City of Latrobe.

The planning commission also granted preliminary and final site plan approval for a large commercial “flex” building at Westmoreland Airpark.

Plans for that project call for a 63,000 square-foot building with access drives, parking, loading dock areas and stormwater management facilities on a 6.56-acre lot near the intersection of Bayhill Road and Route 981.

Sean Fyock of Laughlintown-based Benchmark Engineering and Construction Co. Inc. said the planned flex/warehouse space was designed to be consistent with other development at the airpark.

According to the Westmoreland Airpark website, the lot is among a dozen parcels available for development on one end of the airpark.

In all, 15 lots have been sold at the airpark, according to the website. Businesses with developed lots at the facility include Westmoreland Mechanical Testing & Research, Latrobe Machining Corp., Universal Plastics and others.

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