A proposal for major renovations to a Horsham Sunoco store proceeded to the next phase.
The Horsham Township Council on Monday voted to remain neutral when Sunoco, situated at Welsh Road and Bethlehem Pike, comes before the township zoning board next month.
Sunoco plans to knock down the current store and fully rebuild, taking the property from its current 1,300 square feet to more than 3,100 square feet.
At a council meeting last month, the property owner said the location currently is home to 13 parking spots, however, that number was reassessed to nine this week. The owner said the new store will offer 18 spots.
Two of the spots will be located near a dumpster but those will be used mostly by employees, to facilitate car removal during dumpster emptying.
Sunoco permits manager Clayton McCane said most Sunoco stores typically offer seven or eight parking spots.
Although some council members expressed concern that the parking would not be enough to accommodate patrons, McCane said 18 spots should be ample.
“We’re by no means a Wawa; we don’t prepare food on site,” he said. “At Wawa, people have to wait in line for their food. We’re a quick in and quick out convenience store.”
McCane said the average shopper spends four to five minutes in Sunoco.
“We’d love to have 30 customers at one time, but that’s just not in our business model,” he said.
Council also raised the possibility that Sunoco could partner with Dunkin Donuts in the future, as some current stores do, which could congest parking.
“If a Dunkin Donuts were to come in, there would be food preparation and wait times and we would need more parking,” said councilman Gregory Nesbitt. “We’re not accounting for that now.”
To address that issue, township solicitor Mary Eberle agreed to insert a condition into the agreement specifying that, should Sunoco intend to partner with another food entity, it must first seek council approval, a stipulation that was agreeable to the property owner.
The agreement will also carry a caveat that Sunoco will not use a broadcast system to air music or other messages, as the council said some residents were concerned about noise issues. It may be equipped with a messaging system that will allow customers at the gas pumps and employees to communicate.
Also at the meeting, council unanimously approved a land development waiver for a new addition at The Elements Horsham.
The will take the place of the former 5 Star Gardens on Horsham Road. The waiver enables the restaurant to move forward without submitting a land development plan, as it is not changing the foundation of the property.
The council also unanimously voted in favor of the township selling at auction a number of old pieces of equipment used by the township highway and parks departments, including a diesel tank, trailer and several garage doors.