Marathon Gas Station

The Marathon service station at 509 Highland Avenue

The Marathon service station at 509 Highland Avenue is seeking to expand its business.

The Lawrence County Planning Commission at its regular meeting Tuesday reviewed plans for the construction proposed by Banan Inc., doing business as Banan Mart, and agreed to forward their review to New Castle City Council.

The company has applied to city council for a conditional use for the plans, to construct gasoline service station and continue the current use of a gasoline service station and convenience store on the site.

The applicant intends to demolish the existing 400 square-foot store and two small sheds and replace them with a 1,216 square-foot updated structure at 509 Highland Ave. The property is in a C-1 General Business District of the Second Ward under the city's zoning ordinance and map. The city planning commission reviewed the plans last week and recommended them to council in a 5-0 vote.

Deputy county planning director Allen Miller told the county planning members there are three instances where the proposal does not meet the confines of the New Castle city zoning ordinance.

Miller said the drawing as proposed violate the side and rear yard requirements of the zoning ordinance, and that the existing building does not meet that requirement, either. The plans also do not include any screening from neighboring residential properties, as required, and they do not provide for parking on the lot.

Miller noted that the ordinance requires three parking spaces per gasoline pump.

New Castle City Council will have ultimate and final approval of the plans, he said, noting that all of the county planning reviews are based solely on the requirements of a municipality's zoning ordinance and that the county itself has no jurisdiction where a municipality has a zoning ordnance.

The county planning commission acts only in an advisory capacity to the city to review plans and point out any shortcomings  as applied to the zoning ordinance.

In other planning matters, county planning director Amy McKinney announced that longtime commission member Dom Viccari has resigned from his seat on the board for health reasons. 

Viccari, an Ellwood City resident, has served on the planning commission for nearly two decades.

McKinney said that the commissioners will vote on filling the vacancy. Anyone who is interested in serving is encouraged to send a letter to or contact her or the commissioners office via phone or email.

Commissioner Dan Vogler, who attended the meeting, said he would prefer to appoint someone from the Ellwood City area "for a good geographic spread on the board." 

McKinney noted that the commission also needs the appointment of two alternate members to serve in the absence of other members. 

Whoever is appointed to any of the slot must be a resident of Lawrence County.


Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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