WYSOX TOWNSHIP - The construction of a Sheetz convenience store is planned for the intersection of CraftMaster Road and U.S. Route 6 in Wysox Township, and a traffic study for the development is calling for the installation of a red light at the intersection, the township zoning officer said at the Wysox Township supervisors' meeting this week.

Zoning Officer Kurt Lafy said that the Sheetz store would be constructed in a vacant lot at the southeast corner of the intersection, where the Ward Building had once stood.

The state Department of Transportation asked the developers of the Sheetz store, which would be a combined convenience store/gas station, to conduct a traffic study of the area, and one of the conclusions of the traffic study is that a traffic light is needed at the intersection of Route 6 and CraftMaster Road, Lafy said at the

Lafy said he thinks it is inevitable that the red light will be installed at the intersection. PennDOT wants a traffic light installed at the intersection because a separate traffic study that the agency commissioned in 2011 to alleviate the traffic congestion on Route 6 in Wysox Township had recommended a traffic light at the site, Lafy explained.

"They (PennDOT) will drive it through," Lafy said.

Because U.S. Route 6 is a state highway, PennDOT can decide on its own to install a traffic light at the intersection, township Solicitor Jonathan Foster said.

Sheets will pay to install the light and maintain it, Lafy said.

"It's a bad place for a traffic light," Supervisor Gary Foster said.

Supervisor Jon Kulick said he was concerned that the traffic light would cause backups on Route 6 if increased gas drilling activity brought heavy traffic back to the area in the future.

Foster said that if there were multiple driveways for the Sheets facility, it could result in traffic accidents at the intersection.

Even though the supervisors were concerned about the effects of the traffic light, they agreed to write a letter of support for the light anyway, which was requested by Craft Corners LP, owners of the property where the convenience store would be constructed.

The supervisors cited the inevitability that the light will be installed and the fact that it would help pave the way for the development of the property.

The supervisors also voted to change the times of their monthly meetings in 2013 to 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month, except for December, when it will be held on the third Tuesday of the month.

The meetings had originally been scheduled for the first Tuesday of the month. The change in the schedule is needed to accommodate new township solicitor, Jonathan Foster, who cannot attend Wysox meetings on the first Tuesday of the month.

In response to a resident's request for information about certain aspects of the township's finances, Kulick said that the township's expenses on health insurance had decreased by $12,000 from 2011 to 2012.

Part of the savings is due to the fact that Supervisor Foster and Connie Brown, the wife of township employee Bob Brown, are now receiving only a supplemental health insurance policy through the township, and not full insurance, Lafy said. Gary Foster doesn't need full insurance anymore since he now has Medicare, Lafy said.

The township also achieved savings by using a less expensive health insurance provider for Kulick and Lafy.

Solicitor Foster also raised concerns about the expenses and time the township would have to commit if it were to adopt and enforce its own subdivision and land development ordinance, instead of having the county enforce its subdivision and land development ordinance in the township.

Kulick had been interested in having the township enforce its own subdivision and land development ordinance in order to give the township more control over the approval of commercial developments.

If the township enforced its own subdivision and land development ordinance, the township would have to take over duties currently performed by Bradford County Planning Director Ray Stolinas and his staff, and would have to hire its own engineer to review plans for proposed development in the township, Solicitor Foster said.

"It can be an expensive proposition to take that over, and to try to pass along the expenses to the developer - in this day and age they can contest those costs in court," the solicitor said.

In response to those warnings, Supervisor Whipp said he would prefer to leave things the way they are.

Kulick said he is also now leaning toward letting the county continue to enforce its own ordinance.

Solicitor Foster suggested that the supervisors meet with Stolinas to find out more about what the change would entail, and Kulick said he is still interested in hearing from Stolinas.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com