Residents asked members of the Kirkwood City Council to oppose a resolution to approve a special use exception permit for the Mobil gas station at the corner of Manchester and North Geyer roads, Thursday night.
Safety concerns, decreased property values and a lack of a traffic study were some of the issues raised by the 16 Kirkwood residents or business owners who presented to councilors.
"We already have a huge traffic problem," said Barb Cullmann, of 1043 Simmons Ave. "We don't need anything bigger than what's already there. ... Let's not hurt residents because we want more commercial. We would appreciate a traffic study."
The proposed expansion calls for the demolition of business space at 1136-1150 Manchester Road and an extension of the station to Simmons Avenue. The current convenience store would be demolished and a Mobil on the Run would be built on the property.
The Kirkwood Planning and Zoning Committee approved plans for the expansion under certain conditions that include specifications for a sight-proof fence, lighting and music restrictions and construction of only one curb cut along Simmons Avenue.
John King, an attorney representing Wallis Companies, the owner of the station, said the company has met all of the Planning and Zoning conditions except that deliveries to the 24-hour station occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. King asked councilors that the station be allowed to make deliveries between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Currently there are no restrictions on delivery times for the station.
King told councilors the station is expected to bring between $1.5-2 million in sales which would translate into revenue for the Kirkwood School District. He also pointed out that plans for the expanded station incorporate more landscaping than the Hucks station in Kirkwood.
Multiple residents told councilors there is no need to expand the Mobil station given that three operating gas stations and a closed gas station exist between Geyer and Kirkwood roads.
"Business is imporant, but what's more important is the preservation of quality of life of residents," said Catherine Hanna, of 1062 Barry Ct. "There are no sidewalks on Simmons. It's not a good idea."
Roger Manwaring lives at 1048 N. Geyer Rd., the property directly behind the station. He said that he already eperiences a problem with trash from items purchased at the station being thrown into his yard. He said he believes expansion of the station will exacerbate the problem.
"You guys are the last defense we have to this negative development," he told councilors.
Manwaring's wife, Linda, also expressed concerns to councilors. She said that the proposed privacy fence will not lessen noise from the station and that a proposed drive lane behind the station will increase noise.
"We like to have dinner on our porch," she said. "I want my children to be able to laugh and play and hear each other, not compete with noise."
Other residents took issue with the proposed drive lane, which Kevin Kamp, senior project manager with Civil & Environmental Consultants, told councilors was required by the Kirkwood Fire Department.
Ron Glazer, of 1030 Simmons Avenue said he feared the lane would become a cut-through for traffic.
Councilor Gerry Biedenstein said he would like to get more information from Kirkwood Fire Marshall Leo Meyer on the necessity of the lane. Kamp told councilors Wallis Companies is not opposed to eliminating the lane.
After hearing presentations from Wallis Companies and residents, councilors opted not to vote on the issue. They said they would like more information before making a decision, including delivery time requirements of some Kirkwood gas stations.
A first reading of the resolution to approve a special use exception permit for the Mobil station is scheduled for the council's Dec. 15 meeting. The city has received three petitions opposing the proposed expansion of the station, according to Kirkwood City Attorney John Hessel.
In other council news:
A first reading of a resolution approving a preliminary subdivision plat on the 750 N. Taylor property was rescheduled for the council's Jan. 7 meeting.