Indiana, PA - Indiana County

WHITE TOWNSHIP: Chipotle gets OK for local restaurant

by on August 13, 2014 10:59 AM

Local regulators have cleared the way for construction of another nationally known franchise restaurant between the two shopping malls along Oakland Avenue.

A final site plan for Chipotle Mexican Grill gained approval Tuesday from the White Township planning commission.

The restaurant will be one of a national chain with dozens of locations in Pennsylvania, where food orders are prepared in assembly-line fashion as diners give their custom orders for burritos, tacos and salads.

The restaurant will be built by Oak Ave Ind LLC, a development group set up by Joe Smiley and several partners.

Smiley, of the Columbus, Ohio, area, said he has built three other restaurants for Chipotle in Ohio and Kentucky, and decided Indiana is suitable for introduction of a Chipotle Mexican Grill after spending time in the community while visiting his daughter, a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Under ideal circumstances, Smiley said, the tentative plan calls for starting construction in September and finishing the building in 90 to 120 days. But the schedule can easily change with the weather, further permitting issues and the Chipotle corporation’s detailed plans for interior design.

The Chipotle restaurant has been granted exceptions from White Township land regulations to make it a practical project, township officials said.

The planning panel will allow the face of the new building to extend 11 feet closer to Oakland Avenue than rules allow, but keeping it in line with the fronts of other neighboring businesses that were granted the same exceptions.

The plan shows a similar extension beyond the setback requirement at the back of the building along Willis Drive and on the side along Laurel Street.

Assistant Township Manager Chris Anderson said the design provides 26 parking spaces, which is five fewer than required because of the odd shape and size of the lot.

Anderson said the developers plan some environmental site cleanup work, will construct a grease pit, and will have ornamental landscaping that he said would be monitored to assure that there’s no sight-distance problem for drivers entering and leaving the parking lot.

In other business, the planning commission also reviewed designs for two new self-storage businesses.

They granted final approval for North Avenue U Store It, a 98-unit storage facility to be built on about 4.5 acres behind Regency Mall by the mall developers, Regency Indiana Enterprises. The design includes a stormwater management plan and a free-standing sign that comply with requirements.

The second plan, a preliminary sketch submitted by Bradley Schry, shows five main storage unit structures to be laid on 1 acre of ground that is part of three undeveloped acres off Louise Drive, a private road that now extends from Route 286 to serve the state police station and Creps United Publications in Windy Ridge Business and Technology Park.

Officials said the project would need a stormwater control plan before it could be considered for approval, and they suggested that a proposed 15-foot-wide extension of Louise Drive should be designed 20 feet wide to allow vehicles to pass each other.

The Indiana County Development Corporation presented plans for ongoing development of the Windy Ridge business park. The plans detail work being done under previously approved earthmoving permits to grade more lots for sale and development.

Anderson said he expects ICDC to present stormwater plans and a subdivision plan showing roads and lot boundaries within the next few months. The commission took no action.

The commission reviewed the ongoing plans for Clinton Street Commons, a six-unit home for veterans in the Chevy Chase neighborhood, and the Delaney auto dealership’s Hyundai and Subaru outlet along Lenz Road; and a preliminary plan for construction of a new building to replace one that burned down last month at Schroth Industries along Martin Road.

The commission granted residential subdivision requests allowing Edward and Patricia Gahagan to divide two pieces of ground from their 88.9-acre property at 110 Hunters Ridge Road, and permitting 1.5 acres to be added to Clara Trimarchi’s property along College Lodge Road from adjacent land also owned by the Trimarchi family.

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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