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Truck stop proposal reviewed

The Lancaster Planning Board on Wednesday reviewed site plans for a truck stop and fueling station proposed near Transit Road across from the Thruway exit in Bowmansville.

Bella Vista, a local developer, first submitted plans for the Pilot Travel Center in April. The center will cater mostly to truckers and recreational vehicle users.

The plans call for 17 fueling pumps, including some for diesel fuel; an 8,100-square-foot building that will house a convenience store and restaurant; and a parking lot with more than 100 spaces. A hotel also is proposed for the site.

Nearby residents already have voiced numerous concerns about the project. The say it could disturb wetlands, promote flooding and traffic congestion, create noise and air pollution from idling trucks and attract prostitutes to the area.

Bella Vista developer Joseph Cipolla and Patrick Deptula of Pilot Travel addressed most of those concerns at Wednesday's meeting.

"Part of the problem with this project is the public perception of what this project actually is," Cipolla said.

"Obviously, we're across from the Thruway exit. We're surrounded by trucking. We're on a premier, regional trucking traffic corridor. We think that if there has ever been a site that should have some kind of convenience store, some kind of gas and diesel dispenser location, this is that site, not withstanding any other issues we may have to deal with," he added.

Deptula said that, in addition to "promoting great traffic flow," the travel center will be regularly monitored for air quality.

Members of the Lancaster Planning Board raised several questions about the project, a portion of which would be located in a flood plain. Cipolla plans to address those and other concerns in further detail when the board meets Jan. 4.

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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