November 28, 2012 - Two requests related to a Petro Mart convenience store proposed for South Lindbergh Boulevard are scheduled to be considered next week by the Sunset Hills Planning and Zoning Commission.
The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to consider Petro Mart's requests for a preliminary development plan and a conditional-use permit when it meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, at City Hall, 3939 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
Meanwhile, aldermen delayed consideration of a text amendment related to design standards for motor-vehicle-oriented businesses and two measures related to the proposed Petro Mart were postponed by the Board of Aldermen last week.
In separate votes, aldermen voted 3-2 Nov. 20 to postpone consideration of the text amendment; an ordinance approving a zoning change to Planned-Development-Limited Commercial (B) from C-1 Commercial and R-6 Residential at 1430 S. Kirkwood Road, 126 Floralea Place and 111 Monica Drive; and an ordinance approving a lot consolidation for the site.
Ward 1 Alderman Richard Gau and Ward 4 Alderman Art Havener were opposed.
Ward 3 Aldermen Jan Hoffmann and Stephen Webb were absent.
Aldermen conducted a first reading last week of the text amendment ordinance that would establish the general guideline for convenience stores with gas pumps at 7,500 square feet for one pump island. The board had voted last month to amend the text amendment ordinance from establishing a general guideline of 7,000 square feet for one pump island.
Aldermen voted unanimously to suspend the rules to conduct a second reading of the amended text amendment ordinance last week, but did not conduct a second reading.
A proposed ordinance seeking a conditional-use permit for the Petro Mart was withdrawn last week at the request of the developer. The board conducted second readings of the zoning change and lot consolidation ordinances last week, but did not vote on them.
Land West No. 7 previously proposed a 4,500-square-foot Petro Mart convenience store with eight gas-pump islands at the 1.655-acre site of the former Bob Evans Restaurant. John King, an attorney who represents the developer, previously told the Board of Aldermen the Petro Mart would generate $50,000 to $60,000 annually in sales-tax revenue for the city.
Several speakers voiced their opposition to the text amendment ordinance, including former Ward 1 Alderman Frank Hardy, who noted he and Carol Morrison of Deane Court previously had submitted a petition signed by 174 Sunset Manor subdivision residents who oppose the proposed Petro Mart.
The former alderman told the board he had been contacted Nov. 14 by City Clerk Laura Rider, who informed him what would be necessary for a petition to protest the proposed text amendment and other ordinances related to Petro Mart.
Rider informed Hardy that 36 properties are within 185 feet of the proposed Petro Mart, and the signatures of 30 percent — 11 — of the property owners would be required for a protest petition. She also informed Hardy the signatures would have to be notarized.
In a followup email the weekend before the board meeting, Hardy said he questioned the requirement the signatures be notarized. Rider responded the day before the board meeting that in City Attorney Robert E. Jones' opinion, the signatures must be notarized, he said.
"So this was yesterday, November the 19th at 9:15. So we have from 9:15 till right now to come up with these petitions. We have created a petition and so far, in one day, have collected six signatures — over 50 percent of what is required …," Hardy said, requesting the board postpone consideration of the text amendment ordinance so more signatures could be obtained.
A valid protest petition would require a two-thirds' majority vote of all aldermen to approve any zoning ordinances.
Also speaking in opposition to the proposed text amendment were two representatives of an existing Shell station across from the site of the proposed Petro Mart — attorney Bill Remis, an attorney with DosterUllom LLC who represents Circle K, and Mike Powers, of Circle K.
"… We are opposed to the text amendment modification …," Powers said. "We feel that Spirit Energy, which is our land owner, had to develop the site under the existing ordinances and guidelines. We feel that in order to maintain a level playing field that Petro Mart should also have to adhere to those same guidelines and those same ordinances …"
Gau later noted the proposed text amendment would update an outdated ordinance and a "thorough analysis" had been performed of convenience stores and pump islands throughout the city.
"… So there was a pretty good, thorough analysis done to say, 'Yeah, this probably does makes sense and it does need to be updated, just in general,'" he said.
Morrison also asked the board to postpone consideration of the ordinances so more signatures could be collected.
"… I'd just like to say, reiterate what Frank said, I would like to have some more time to contact the people that do own the homes (within 185 feet of the proposed Petro Mart) … I guess 174 signatures just wasn't enough," she said.
Both Gau and Ward 4 Alderman Pat Fribis questioned the city attorney about how signatures could be collected to protest a text amendment that applies citywide and not to a specific area of the city.
Fribis asked, "… How do you get signatures when this is just a general text amendment?"
Jones replied, "I understand your question. I don't have a good answer to it, except to say I would prefer to see this board err on the side of allowing the protest to apply to this text amendment as well as the other … related ordinances."
Havener later asked Hardy, "… Did Laura Rider reach out to you …"
Hardy said Rider called him Nov. 14.
Havener asked, "Was that unsolicited or …"
Hardy said, "That's correct."
Havener said, "OK. So if she hadn't reached out to you, then this would be a moot point, correct?"
Hardy said, "Well, we thought that the 174 signatures would certainly carry some weight with all of you."
Havener said, "Right, but I'm just saying this whole protest thing, aspect, could have been done weeks ago, correct?"
Hardy replied, "Had we known about it."
Havener said, "… You were an alderman, right?
Hardy said, "Yes, I was. But this is the first time I've ever heard of a (protest petition)."