Rumors have been circulating as to what will be coming into the old Arby's building in the Route 6 Plaza in Honesdale.
The biggest ones were that it would be a Burger King or a Taco Bell. At first confirmed by township secretary/treasurer John Haggarty, then by the supervisors during Monday night's meeting, the rumors are true.
Taco Bell will be coming to Honesdale.
The permits are all approved and renovations have started on the 1,973 square foot building. It will have 56 fixed seats inside and will also welcome nine employees.
The owner of the Honesdale location of Taco Bell is Virginia Donuts V, LLC from Kitty Hawk, N.C..
Many locations at Taco Bell also have another entity, such as KFC, but Haggarty said the plans don't indicate anything other than Taco Bell for this location.
An expected opening date hasn't been determined yet.
• Peebles will have its grand opening on Oct. 17.
It is located where Fashion Bug used to be in the Route 6 Plaza in Honesdale.
Peebles is a retail store that has "over 800 stores in 40 states across the US."
• The supervisors talked about the problem that resident Amy Minnich is having on her property due to her neighbor's tree that is leaning into her yard.
Former zoning officer Steve Ostrander got the owners to hire a contractor to take care of the problem, but the morning it was supposed to be done, it was cancelled. Former zoning officer Sandi Scull also told Minnich she would help, but nothing happened. Both told Minnich to go to the magistrate or get a lawyer.
Minnich has stated that three different tree companies "are shocked" the tree hasn't fallen on her house yet. She said that she's not asking for the tree to be cut down, but just the branches that are on her side.
"I understand they want us to take a tree down that's in the right of way," said Supervisor Rick Southerton.
"This lady has a problem with her neighbors," said Supervisor Don Doney. "The neighbor's tree is overhanging her house and she says it's a safety hazard. She wants the township to get the neighbor to cut the tree down, but it's on a private road I believe. It's not in the right of way. There's been articles in the paper of why doesn't Texas do anything about the trees?"
Page 2 of 3 - "It's on private property, number one," stated Solicitor Lee Krause, Sr. "It's not your obligation."
Southerton asked if it was in the right of way if it would be an obligation and Krause said that "it depends" if it was a major hazard, "especially to the maintenance of the road."
"If it's in the right of way of the road and you're paving the road, then yea, then it's something that you would have a responsibility to the general public to make sure the road wasn't a safety hazard," Krause stated. "If it's not a danger to the road or the usage of the road by the public, it's not your responsibility."
• Jeff Deyoung was approved as the new township zoning officer.
Southerton abstained from voting, but didn't say why.
• Resident Chris Decker had some questions on what he could do for a business he and his wife own.
"We had a sports shop and had a restaurant open," he said. "I had the permits and everything done for a sprinkler system and in 2011 I had a bad heart attack, which put me back so my wife and I decided we were going to sell it. That's when Steve Ostrander took over as zoning officer and things got crazy. They couldn't find any of my records that I set in for the seven apartments and the two downstairs commercial areas."
Decker stated he has a proposed buyer for it and that they are trying to figure out which route to take. When they put it on the market they found out they can only use "1,200 gallons of water per day" when it used to be a restaurant for over 300 seats.
"We worked it out with Chris Martin and Steve Ostrander and for 1,200 gallons we were going to two offices, two apartments and the two downstairs businesses wouldn't have public restrooms," he said. "Now the proposed buyers want to do a gas station, but what they want to do is tear the whole building down, so it would be a completely new building, the water usage would be cut in half from 1,200 to not even 600 gallons. I went through different steps to find out what to do. I went to PennDOT in Dunmore to make sure the highway thing was right, but now I find out that the property isn't commercial."
However, Decker said that on the map, it shows that 2.7 acres is commercial. Southerton corrected him in saying that one part is rural and the other is residential.
Page 3 of 3 - "Do we have to go for a variance or change of use, because these people seem like it would be a good thing to have with another type of convenience store," Decker said. "It can put pressure off the town too, but we don't know what we can do now. I don't know where to go. I put all this into it before to find out all the permits we had before are just gone now. I'm having all these headaches after putting all this money into the place and I don't know which way to go."
Krause Sr. gave his input as well.
"One of the problems is the zoning is rural and the gas station is not permitted," he said. "It's not something you can get. There's not even a permitted conditional use for it. It would involve an amendment to the zoning ordinance to rezone it. That's quite an effort to do. I would suggest you get someone who knows something about it. I don't think it's something you can do yourself. I think you're going to need some help with that if you're going to do it. I think you need an engineer and a lawyer who can work with you to get it."
Krause said there is a provision for an amendment to the ordinance, but it's "generally an uphill battle." He added that "it's not something you can shoulder yourself."
"From a legal standpoint it's not permitted in that zone and there isn't a variance," Krause stated. "That's not going to work for you either. You need to get an amendment to the ordinance to make that a commercial property and that's going to take some wayward."
He added that the supervisors "can't judge that now."
"Right now a gas station type of enterprise isn't something that's acceptable," said Krause.
"Can it still be a convenience store or a smoke shop?" Decker asked.
"Not without an amendment," Krause stated. "You're going to have to do something to get it commercial. There's no doubt in my mind."
Decker said he would tell the proposed buyers that they can't put a gas station in without an amendment to the zoning ordinance and "see what they want to do."