The Athens Township planning commission on Monday recommended that supervisors grant final approval to plans to build a 186,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter on Elmira Street, near the site of the current store.

Commission members voted to grant the approval, pending the receipt of a sign package, highway occupancy permit from the state Department of Transportation, improvement agreement and guarantee with the township, and minor corrections to the plans. "At this point, it's basically administrative stuff" that needs to be completed, said commission chair Scot Saggiomo.

Engineer Skip Schneider of CEI Engineering, project manager for the planned store, said that the plans for the store had hardly changed from the preliminary plans approved in December, with the exception of the widening of an access driveway to respond to comments from the state Department of Transportation.

The Supercenter will be built behind the current store, on the former Bob's Honda property, and will include a retail space, food establishment and hair salon. The former Walmart site will become a parking area once demolished, Schneider said at a conditional use hearing for the property in January.

The commission also recommended final approval of a subdivision by lease and preliminary approval of land development for a proposed Candlewood Suites hotel and restaurant. The buildings are proposed to be built on Elmira Street on a 3,800-acre parcel of property owned by Roman, Carol, Bud and Tammie Rosh.

The proposed four-story, 85-room hotel, developed by Fagan Engineers of Elmira, N.Y., will include pedestrian access to the separate restaurant building. An occupant for the restaurant building had yet to be finalized Monday.

Commission members expressed concerns that the parcel would not have enough parking spaces, given the unknown number of restaurant employees. Members also worried that light from the property would spill over onto a neighboring apartment complex.

Commission members granted the approval contingent on the satisfaction of several noted deficiencies, including corrected copies of a lighting plan, the clarification of varying heights on a retaining wall, inclusion of a sign package and correction of rear setbacks.

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: arenko@thedailyreview.com.