O’Reilly store a go for Chestnut Plaza – Altoona Mirror
The Altoona Planning Commission this week OKd a land development plan for an O’Reilly Auto Parts store on an outparcel of Chestnut Plaza in Logantown.
The commission waived a requirement for landscaping against the building.
Foundation landscaping would interfere with operations around the store, because of sidewalks designed to provide safe passage from the parking lot, entrances and loading zones, according to Mike Jeitner, a principal at Bohler, the consulting engineer for the project.
There would be extra vegetation elsewhere to compensate for the lack of foundation plantings, according to a Bohler memo.
The commission declined to waive a requirement for bike racks, despite arguments from Bohler.
The racks would be superfluous, said Jeitner and another Bohler representative, who appeared via Zoom.
The city’s land development ordinance requires a bike rack for every 10 motor vehicle parking spaces, and with 28 of those, three racks would be needed, according to the memo.
It’s unlikely someone would bike to a store to buy parts for a car, Jeitner told the board.
Moreover, “the majority of parts for sale are not easily transported via bicycle,” the memo states.
The board put the brakes on that.
What if someone’s car isn’t working, and they ride a bike to the store to get a part to fix it? asked commissioner Larry Bilotto.
“I thought the same thing,” said Chairman Dave Albright.
There will be room on site for someone to set down a bike, even without a rack, one of the Bohler representatives replied.
And such a case would be rare, he added.
Bike racks typically are not associated with O’Reilly stores, he said.
“I know it doesn’t sound like it’s in keeping with an auto parts store,” Albright said.
But the engineers probably wouldn’t be “making that argument with a straight face” if they were designing a restaurant or convenience store, Albright said.
Moreover, insisting on bike racks supports the comprehensive plan goal to encourage bicycle — as well as pedestrian — traffic, Albright said.
The store will be close to Penn State Altoona’s campuses, and lots of students ride bikes, Albright added.
“Bike racks are one of those items we feel we need to enforce across the board,” he said.
The store will be located on First Street in what is now the grassy area to the left of the curving entrance along that thoroughfare.
Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.