River Stop renovations to get underway after clearing York Co. Council

Posted March 17, 2014 11:30 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

DSC_3758Andrew Kiel | WRHI.com
After months of discussions, closed-door meetings and public debate, renovations on the River Stop convenience store and gas station will get underway in the next few days.

Plans to upgrade the facility’s fuel pumps, outer canopy and asphalt surface cleared York County Council Monday night through the passing of a conditional zoning effort prompted by the scope of the project.

The Patel family purchased the site in July 2013 with plans to close in late November to kick off the renovations. But objections from nearby property owner and developer Alex Haefele prompted the issue to go before the county’s planning commission and full council.

“The main issue was the pumps,” said family spokesman Bahbin Patel, citing the age of the pumps and lack of pay-at-the-pump service. “That’s the main priority of putting that rezoning in.”

County ordinances require a specific zoning classification, Business Development-3, to allow for convenience stores with covered fuel pumps. In January and February, Bahbin Patel and members of his family spoke before county council outlining their desire to upgrade the 30-year-old facility. In late February, council opted to defer action on the matter, opting instead to move forward with a conditional zoning that extends only to the current property owner.

Those concerns, family representative Robert Heron said, were brought by Haefele and others that were concerned the BD-3 zoning might make it easy for a large, Quick Trip-style gas station to buy out the Patel family and open on the property. Heron said the family had no intentions of doing that.

“This will be a modernized store,” Patel said. “It’s still going to be a homely, neighborhood store with the modern facilities of a Quick Trip.”

Work on the site is expected to take about six weeks to complete — work that will be done well ahead of the Memorial Day kickoff to summer. The store closed Saturday in anticipation of council’s approval of the rezoning.

“[The cutomers] are probably more anxious than we are to complete the project,” Patel said. “They want to take advantage of the upfits before the summer really hits.”