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Mobil Goes 'On the Run' With Council Approval

City councilors voted 4-3 to turn the Kirkwood Mobil gas station at North Geyer and Manchester roads into a Mobil on the Run, a move that has met with the disapproval of some neighboring residents.

Kirkwood will be getting a bigger, fancier gas station at North Geyer and Manchester roads, but not everybody is happy about it.

More than 50 residents attended Thursday night's meeting of Kirkwood City Council to protest the expansion of the at the busy intersection.

The expansion would increase the number of islands at the station from four to eight and include a new convenience store. Wallis Companies, which owns the station, anticipate a 100 percent increase in gas revenue and a 50 percent increase in convenience store revenue.

Ten residents addressed council about the development during Thursday's public comments section of the meeting.

Many expressed concerns about noise and congestion. But every resident, including architect Roger Manwaring, who lives directly behind the station, cited traffic as their primary concern.

"How can they say that they are getting an 100 percent increase in gas, but that it won't adversely affect traffic? That's twice as many people going in and out of a station on a very busy intersection," Manwaring said.

Manwaring said his primary concern was the lack of a traffic study. He told council that he felt the process was rushed to expedite the development.

"We know this project is expensive," Manwaring said. "They are purchasing and demolishing an adjacent building to construct this thing. How much would a traffic study cost in the grand scheme of things?"

Other residents, like Kristy Hart of Simmons Avenue, spoke about the concern for her family.

"My son plays in our yard on Simmons. Will he be safe with all these cars zooming in and out of this place? He asked me the other day, 'Mom, will I be able to walk to school with this thing here?' And I didn't know what to tell him. So what do I tell him?" Hart asked councilors.

Bob Schmidt, of Kirkwood, told councilors he had circulated a petition with nearly 400 signatures opposing the development from individuals in the vicinity of the gas station.

After listening to residents' concerns, the petitioner from Wallis Companies assured the council that all concerns had been met and that Wallis Companies had made every attempt to fit within the confines of the needs of Kirkwood.

The measure passed in a 4-3 vote. Council members Biedenstein, Jaksetic and Sears voted against the measure.

"If this isn't going to adversely affect the community, as the (Wallis Companies) has implied, then why is the entire community here tonight to oppose it?" Schmidt said.

Editor's Note: This article has been corrected to reflect statements attributed to the petitioner representing Wallis Companies and the number of presenters during the public comments section of the meeting.

Ron G. January 10, 2012 at 12:13 AM
What's really a shame is that the city council failed to genuinely listen to the numerous residents opposed to this invasive and needless expansion. It seemed that only Concilwoman Jaksetic spoke up against the proposal, and truely understood the gravity of this and was concerned about its impact upon the community. Its was simply astounding that the Mayor compared the project to "a new couch...that you may not like at first but get used to." Fortunately, we have upcoming elections whereby constituents can be heard by vote, and vote out these so called representatives who fail to listen to the residents, nor seem to care about them nor the Kirkwood community!
Jeff Hartman January 10, 2012 at 02:33 PM
The Kirkwood City Council is either completely out of touch with what the citizens want or they simply don't care. Searching for 'Kirkwood City Council' brings up issue after issue where the council voted against the wishes of the constituents and ignored Planning and Zoning recommendations.
Christie January 10, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I can’t believe they even mentioned tackling the issue of the traffic on Manchester. It’s far worse out west where it is wider and houses more gas stations. The Mayor should have just said from the start that it didn’t matter what the residents wanted to say, he didn’t hear them. The facts are simple, in order for the council to make up for the tax dollars lost with the businesses they are tearing down for parking lots and vacant stores as well as those existing business that want to move in or expand that they deny, they are making up for it with the expanded, out-of-place, out-of-character monstrosity of a gas station the Wallis company plans to build. A traffic study should have been required, plain and simple! What a sad lesson about government my son learned that night. He learned that while his vote may count, facts, opinions and feelings do not. We’ll be making sure our votes count in the future elections, and only those that have the best interest of those they serve are elected. Should my son ever decide to go into politics (and I hope he doesn’t), I hope he listens to the facts and those he serves. Kudos to Council members Biedenstein, Jaksetic and Sears. Shame on the rest of you.
Betsy January 10, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Art McDonnell's comments comparing the hotly-contested Mobil-on-the-Run to a "couch you have to get used to" - made me wonder how best to extend his metaphor. Perhaps, instead of spending money on signs to ensure that McDonnell doesn't get elected for the first time, we in the neighborhood should simply pool our money and purchase McDonnell a couch. It would be a couch that he'd never pick for himself, clashes with the rest of his furniture and is made out of scratchy, unpleasant material (and kind of smells like hot dogs and pizza). Then we could place the couch in the center of his living room, blocking the entrance to other parts of the house. Maybe the couch should be nailed to the floor and when he argues about the terrible location that is impeding his standard of living, we'd just comment that "he'll get used to it". Further more, I guess his utter ignorance at the impact that this monstrosity would have on the neighborhood is understandable. The closest thing that McDonnell and the other Council members, (Tim Griffin, Paul Ward, and Iggy Yuan) have to a multi-million dollar, sixteen pump, gas station near their house -are the annoying flyers left in their front doors. Hopefully McDonnell will have more time to spend at his unencumbered house, when he is not elected (by counted votes) in this upcoming election because his constituents are tired of having their neighborhoods ruined by him (and certain Council members) and big business.
Christie January 11, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I have a couch I'm about to remove from my basement. I'm going to wait until election time. I think I'm going to put it in my front yard...with a big giant sign that says "Art McDonnell, Iggy Juan, Paul Ward and Tim Griffin all say you'll get used to me."
Bonnie Brumpton January 11, 2012 at 04:12 PM
As a Kirkwood resident, I feel really snubbed by the City Council - at least, the ones who voted for Mobil On the Run. The fact is that since Manchester was used to reroute Hwy. 40 while it was being fixed, the traffic dramatically increased and has never gone back down to previous levels. I used to walk to work (which includes a crossing of Manchester) but I am too afraid to since that time. Now we're going to add more traffic. What a crock!
Liane January 11, 2012 at 08:20 PM
That was a totally insensitive comment made by the mayor. Ironically though, I did have a friend who once bought a new couch and disliked it when he got it home, but it grew on him to the point where he eventually liked it. I don't think the same can be said for this Mobil on the Run station. What makes anyone think any of these jokers plan on running for re-election? They certainly aren't acting as if they are!
Ron G. January 12, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Perhaps its time to petition the state for a city audit, like what is reportedly being done in Brentwood, in lieu of this and other questionable decisions rendered by our City Council which do not seem responsive to it's citizens?
Bob January 12, 2012 at 03:19 AM
You guys need to get over your selves especially Ron you complain to much it passed and that is it. I understand you are upset but you are making this to big of a deal just deal with it life inst always far and the city did what they thought was best for the community of Kirkwood.
Ron G. January 12, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Well Bob, we have to live with it here. There are a lot people besides myself that are upset and feel very let down by the city. There was tremendous opposition by the residents who live behind and adjacent to this expansion. Naturally we all hope it won't be as bad as we fear, nor do we want anyone to get injured by the increased traffic into residential neighborhoods, at an already busy intersection that will now be DOUBLED.. Mayor McDonnell is quoted in July 2011 as stating he "desired to give Manchester more of an identity as a thriving part of town." I'm sorry, but I fail to see how and oversized gas station provides a better 'identity' for Manchester road in Kirkwood. Obviously, you don't live near here and therefore don't fully understand the gravity of this, and why opposition against it therefore became so passionate. People can express their disatisfaction, or support, of their elected officials come election time in just a few months...We'll leave it at that.
Laurie January 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I don't understand how the Council could have approved this without either a traffic study or an environmental impact statement. Thank you to Council members Biedenstein, Jaksetic and Sears.

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