Ross commissioners nix change in construction hours for BJ's Warehouse Club

·3 min read

Jun. 10—Ross Township residents who live near the construction site of the new BJ's Wholesale Club store need not worry about getting jarred out of bed by loud equipment earlier than do now.

Developers of the store — a membership-only warehouse club chain similar to Sam's Club and Costco — were on the agenda for the June 7 board of commissioners meeting seeking to extend the work hours so a contractor could pour concrete earlier in the day.

The store is being built at 6300 Northway Drive, which is located at the rear of the Block Northway shopping center near the Aldi supermarket.

But the commissioners voted the request down by unanimous vote after the project manager and contractor didn't show up for the meeting.

Their failure to attend the meeting in person or by Zoom drew a rebuke from commissioner Franny Salachup.

"You've got to be kidding me, is he on virtual?" she asked when nobody responded after a board member asked for a company representative to outline the changes in the work hours they wanted.

"They should have been here," she said. "To request a waiver of this ordinance and they're not even here?"

Commissioner Chris Eyster made a motion to table the company's request so it could be addressed at a subsequent meeting.

But Salachup balked at the idea. "We shouldn't table it, we should vote it down," she said.

Eyster's motion failed after it did not get a second.

The board then voted unanimously not to grant the request to change construction hours, which means the company would have to resubmit its request for it to be considered again.

At the start of the meeting, Stephanie Francis, who lives across the street from the construction site, said residents are already weary from the dust, noise and disturbance from recent construction projects.

"We recently went through the construction of Girty's Run," she said. "They started at 6 a.m. and people getting up for work didn't appreciate the extra commotion and noise generated from that."

She said the current rule only allowing construction between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. is generous enough.

"How much were you guys planning on extending those hours?" she asked the commissioners. "Anything earlier than 6 a.m. is a bit too early."

She said living with the store's construction has been a nuisance.

"They're already working on it all day," she said. "Trucks are going up and down Brown's Lane and there's mud coming off the site into our neighborhood every time it rains. I'm wondering what other disturbances they want to bring to our neighborhood?"

Developer Richard Ruck and James Skillman, a representative from Cincinnati, Ohio-based TWC Concrete Services who was also scheduled to attend the meeting, could not be reached for comment.

The one-story building will be 99,740 square feet and have an adjacent 12-pump station. Plans call for 377 parking spaces.

Work began about two months ago and is tentatively scheduled for completion by late November. About 150 people will be employed when the store opens, according to the company.

A second BJ's Wholesale Club store also is being built in South Fayette.

The company, based in Westborough, Mass., has 221 stores in the eastern United States, including Philadelphia, Allentown and Reading.

The locations in Ross and South Fayette are among six new stores the company recently announced. The others are in Seabrook, N.H., Port Charlotte, Fla., Commack, N.Y., and Lansing, Mich.

"We've made great progress accelerating the pace of our new club openings in the last few years and we're looking forward to opening six new locations this fiscal year," Bill Werner, an executive vice president for BJ's Wholesale Club said in a news release. "We're excited to bring the value and convenience of a BJ's membership to more shoppers as we continue extending our reach across the Eastern United States."

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, tlarussa@triblive.com or via Twitter .