By Maggie West / Beacon Media
The city of Milton's young government is known best for two things: lots of horses and no sewer. Now a third distinction has emerged: no more gas, either.
A number of residents protested a rezoning request for a gas station on a triangle of land of less than an acre at the intersection of Highway 9 and Bethany Bend during the Feb. 23 Milton Planning Commission meeting. Their primary concern was people’s safety at an already congested corner.
The applicant, "D Squared Development LLC" couldn’t make the shoe fit when it petitioned the commission to allow construction of a gas station comprised of a 2,400-square-foot building with five pump islands on their 0.871-acre parcel.
MILTON RESIDENTS VOICE OPPOSITION TO GAS STATION
In a room filled with more than 30 residents, six commission members, and two of the community development staff, the development company was the first to hold the floor. Speaking on behalf of the owner -- Nathan V. Hendricks III -- a representative from Lance Oil Company, Royce Brooks, and Brad Riffel, an engineer, laboriously detailed the need to rezone the parcel from AG-1 (agricultural) and C-1 (community business) to exclusively C-1 in order to complete the project. They also requested a concurrent variance to reduce a 20-foot landscape strip along Bethany Bend to 10 feet, and presented the commission with numerous maps and site plans.
Needless to say, they did their homework.
But the locals in attendance graded them an "F," anyway.
Residents who stood in opposition to the rezoning request ran the gamut: some were parents, some were not, some lived in sub-divisions and some on roads -- but they all agreed that squeezing the proposed building and islands onto such a small tract of land at an already congested corner, due to its triangular shape, "is not conducive to [anyone’s] safety," said Milton resident Wes Favors.
IT’S THE SAFETY, STUPID
Among the greatest concerns of those speaking at the meeting were the safety of children who live in the nearby residential areas, pedestrians and motorists who frequent the acute-angled intersection. Ten residents spoke in opposition to the project. The fact that three other gas stations are located within a three-mile radius of the proposed site only intensified the controversy. The residents stated they were not opposed to commercial businesses on the site. They simply want a foot that fits the shoe.
The commission agreed, denying the applicant’s petition.
The final decision, however, resides with Milton’s City Council, which will meet in mid-March.
Based on history, you can stick a fork in this filling station, its dry. And dead.