During the yearlong discussion over a proposed Sheetz in South Middleton Township, Supervisor Tom Faley heard one comment from many residents in that sector of the township: They wanted what they had lost.
In October 2013, a fire gutted the Bonanza restaurant, located off Alexander Spring Road and Walnut Bottom Road. When the building was torn down, many residents queried if Bonanza would come back.
And Faley said residents were still holding out hope even when the owner decided not to rebuild.
With Sheetz’s plan officially rejected this past April, a new developer is looking to fulfill the wishes of some of those residents.
RB Investments and Madden Engineering Services will go before the South Middleton Township Board of Supervisors Thursday night to request a formal waiver to bypass the land development plans for the site.
Faley said the waiver is being requested because the developer plans on building a new steakhouse in the near approximate size and shape as the former Bonanza.
“Essentially, it’s just recreating that building,” Faley explained.
The developer already received permission from the zoning hearing board earlier in September to have 80 percent impervious coverage on the site—that impervious coverage is still less than what Bonanza had with 84.7 percent.
A plan given to the township mirrors Bonanza’s original layout. The new steakhouse will be 7,700 square feet, but parking will mirror what had already been there. Handicapped parking will be on the side instead of the front of the building, and the developer plans on having 95 parking spaces—10 more than what is required for the site.
Similarly to how Bonanza was set up previously, the entrances and exits in the new plan will also be the same, with one entrance off Walnut Bottom Road, and two access points off Alexander Spring Road.
The developer hopes to have room to seat 250 people, and Faley said they estimate they will be able to employ 22 people.
John Madden, owner of Madden Engineering Services, said it is still unknown whether the new steakhouse will be a chain restaurant or a private restaurant. Those details are still in the works, he said.
If the developer receives the land development waiver, the company could immediately start on building permits, and the restaurant could be operational by the spring or summer, depending on the harshness of the winter, according to Faley.
“I think (the residents) will be very pleased,” Faley said, noting that there will not be the traffic or environmental concerns that the township had with the Sheetz plan for the site.
South Middleton Township supervisors will vote on the waiver request at this Thursday’s meeting at 6 p.m. at the township building, 520 Park Drive, Boiling Springs.