Sheetz near AASD eyes sales of alcohol

Additions planned to store near junior, senior high schools

The Altoona Planning Commission this week approved a land development plan for two additions that could allow the Sheetz on 17th Street at Seventh Avenue — near the Altoona Area School District campus — to sell beer and wine.

The project calls for an addition to accommodate seating along the 17th Street side and one to accommodate the cooler on the Seventh Avenue side.

Asked whether the company foresees that selling alcohol could be a problem given the store’s proximity to Altoona Area’s high and junior high schools, Sheetz spokesman Nick Ruffner said the firm “is dedicated to being good neighbors,” that it takes the sale of “age-restricted products … very seriously,” and that it’s “committed to responsibly complying with all current laws and regulations, including the enforcement of a 100 percent proof-of-age policy” — along with time-of-day sales restrictions for alcohol.

The store hopes the renovations are in place this year, Ruffner indicated.

The project will add 672 square feet to the 4,000-square-foot store, according to a document presented at the commission meeting.

Both additions will be built where sidewalks now hug the building walls.

The company will not replace those sidewalks, but instead will place bollards — vertical post barriers — about a foot away from the building to ensure against vehicles hitting the store.

That will preserve enough space behind the parked vehicles so they can back out and circulate in the parking lot safely, according to a document distributed at the meeting.

The current back-out and circulation space is already at Sheetz’s minimum, according to the document.

Eliminating the space between the head of the parking stalls and the building required the waiver of a 5-foot setback requirement.

After the project, patrons won’t have a sidewalk to help them get from their cars to the doors of the store, but their situation won’t be much different than it is for customers at many other retail locations with large parking lots, within which they need to walk in front of and behind cars, said Eric Banks of Stiffler McGraw, a consulting engineer for Sheetz.

The property has a tight layout, said commissioner Jennifer Mikolajczyk.

Most Sheetz stores do, said Community Development Director Lee Slusser.

An orange placard in the window indicates the company’s intention to seek a license for the store.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.


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