Residents from the neighborhood surrounding the Mobil gas station at the corner of Manchester and North Geyer Roads gathered near the station Tuesday night to learn more about a proposed expansion of the longtime Kirkwood business that has some of them worried.
Kevin Kamp, senior project manager with Civil & Environmental Consultants, presented the plans to a subcommittee of the Kirkwood Planning and Zoning Commission as part of an on-site review.
The plans call for the demolition of business space at 1136-1150 Manchester Road and an extension of the station to Simmons Avenue. Construction would add four gas pumps, bringing the total number of pumps to eight, as well as an On the Run convenience store to replace the current Mobil store.
Entrances into and exits out of the station would be reduced from four to three with one on Geyer Road, one on Manchester Road and one on Simmons Avenue.
“I’m concerned about this encroaching into our neighborhood,” said Simmons Avenue resident Patty Bokern, who started a Facebook page opposing the expansion.
In addition to increased traffic along Simmons, Bokern said she is worried about loitering at the On the Run late at night and neighboring homes losing property value.
She also said that she's concerned about an increase in cars entering the station from Manchester Road because students cross the street in front of the station on their way to North Kirkwood Middle School.
William Cody, who works at Varsity Barber Shop, said he also worries about the safety of students whom he sees crossing the street in front of the station.
"The average speed on Manchester is 50 mph, and there's no center lane," he said.
Some residents at the review expressed concerns about drivers cutting through the station from Geyer Road onto Simmons Avenue, as well as increased traffic along Simmons as a result of drivers avoiding Manchester while visiting the station.
Other issues raised by residents included the brightness of station lights and the height of a privacy fence along the property.
Kamp said he is confident that plans for the expansion can address residents’ concerns.
He noted that plans call for the On the Run to be built closer to Manchester Road, which would provide more of a buffer between homes and the store than what currently exists. He also pointed out that plans call for a substantial addition of green space to the proposed site.
The subcommittee will prepare its report for the Kirkwood Planning and Zoning Commission, which could be presented to the commission at its next meeting Sept. 7.
The Mobil station is owned by Wallis Companies, which also owns the BP on North Kirkwood Road.