Plans For New 7-eleven Stalled

Posted: August 25, 1986

Warminster Township may soon become home to the first 7-Eleven store of the future.

Plans for the prototype convenience store failed to receive preliminary approval at a township planning commission at a Wednesday night meeting. But chairman William Bauer 3d indicated the commission would probably vote in favor of the project once two technical flaws in the plans were corrected.

Developer Gene Epstein, during his presentation to the commission, said that engineers from the Southland Corp. - 7-Eleven's parent company - had chosen the proposed Warminster location as a test site for the prototype store.

If the new look meets with customer approval, Epstein said, it will be duplicated at all new and existing 7-Eleven stores across the country.

Epstein, of Wrightstown, did not divulge specifics about the new store's appearance, but he told the commission, "It is something that no one has ever seen before. It will be a different facade outside and a different interior design and layout. Southland has all its top people involved in this."

The plans submitted by Epstein call for the 3,000-square-foot store to be located on a one-acre tract at the intersection of Street and Mearns Roads, where an unoccupied gas station now stands.

In addition to the 7-Eleven store, Epstein's plans for the tract include two retail stores totaling 3,625 square feet. Although Epstein said he has yet to sign any tenants for the stores, he mentioned that a dry cleaner, a paint store, and a pizza parlor are among the possibilities.

The commission rejected Epstein's plan because the proposed amount and location of parking spaces did not comply with the township's Subdivision and Land Development Act. Under that act, all parking areas must be set back five feet from any future right of ways and all parking spaces must be at least five feet from the property line.

But Bauer indicated that both matters could be corrected and should not hamper the developer's plans. Epstein said he would like to have the store finished before the end of the year.

"By rejecting this application we are not saying we don't want the project in the township," said Bauer. "But these items must be taken care of before we can give our approval."

Bauer also said that the plans were subject to review by the township engineer and that Epstein would need a highway occupancy permit from the state Department of Transportation before formal approval would be granted.

Epstein was granted a variance by the Zoning Hearing Board July 24 to allow less than the number of parking spaces required by the township. The plans call for 34 parking spaces instead of the 66 spaces, or one space per 100 square feet of floor space as required by the township.

In another matter, the commission voted to approve the application of builder John A. Shihadeh to construct an 825-square foot addition to the rear of Cucci's Restaurant at 41 N. York Rd. According to Shihadeh, the addition will will increase the restaurant's seating capacity from 85 to about 150.

The commission also took a preliminary look at a proposal to build a Wendy's Restaurant at the intersection of York and Street Roads. While plans were not officially considered at Wednesday's meeting, Bauer said he saw two problems with the proposal.

First, he said, the area to be developed is zoned commercial while highway commercial zoning is required for a restaurant with a drive-through window. Secondly, he said, the proposed restaurant comes within 1,500 feet of a gas station, which is not permitted under township ordinance.

The application will be considered by the commission at its meeting Sept. 3.

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