TOBYHANNA (Coolbaugh Township) — Lance Merkin attended the Coolbaugh Township supervisors’ work session in August to discuss his concept of putting a travel plaza/restaurant complex on property he recently purchased across from the Walmart Distribution Center.

Before getting very far into his presentation, supervisor Alma Ruiz-Smith noted that the property is in the C-3 “Commercial Village” zone, which does not allow for a travel plaza. After some discussion with the solicitor on the propriety of rezoning the land, supervisor Clare Cogan suggested that the truck stop be placed on property across the street from the location, which is zoned to permit the truck stop.

Merkin, who also owns that property, said he would “love” to put it there, but because Veteran’s Drive is privately owned, he could not secure access to the road. Chair Bill Weimer suggested discussions with Walmart about the township taking over a portion of the road to allow access for the potential project.

Weimer noted that he could not be involved as he works for Walmart, but suggested that the township business manager and a couple of supervisors start discussions with Walmart to explore the possibilities of providing access should the travel plaza development move forward.


Also at the work session, Weimer said he thought the snow emergency ordinance needed to be strengthened to make it easier and faster to remove vehicles hampering snow removal efforts.

In the same vein, basketball hoops in the township right of way are problematic for the road crews all year long. The supervisors expressed an interest in enacting an ordinance to keep them, out of the rights of way.

Tomas Keane reported that, after reviewing existing ordinances, they discovered there were no penalties in place for parking in no parking zones. Weimer said the township needed to enact fines and authorize the regional police to cite illegally parked trucks and vehicles.