Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Milton mulls gas station ban.

Courtesy Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

September 20, 2010

MILTON – At last week's city council work session, elected officials discussed whether new restrictions were warranted in dealing with new developments featuring service stations and convenience stores.

The proposal provided by city staff suggested requiring a 100-foot setback from the property line of any residence and any service station or convenience store. The current ordinance says it must be 75 feet from any residential building.

The issue came to a head in May, when a gas station and convenience store was suggested for a property at the intersection of Bethany Bend and Highway 9. Local residents were concerned about the proximity of the station and its gas pumps to nearby homes. The application came shortly after a deadly gas station explosion in Kentucky. The proposal was denied.

Mayor Joe Lockwood seemed concerned about the proposed new rules, which staff readily admitted would block any future businesses of the type on properties where they are currently zoned.

"If we were to pass this, we're really allowing possibly one convenience store in the city limits of Milton," said Lockwood. "I don't think it's right that we're sitting here ... eliminating a whole industry city-wide." He sees the issue as a "moot point" since, as currently zoned, there are only a few properties in the city big enough to house such a business.

City Manager Chris Lagerbloom noted that there are several properties within the city that could, in the future, hold these businesses. However, they would have to be rezoned, which would require they come before the council for permission.

Should the proposal pass, no convenience stores or service stations would be allowed in the city except for a handful of potential properties on Highway 9 in the south of the city. Several of the properties are owned by the Deerfield development on Windward, but the Deerfield covenants forbid any further development features on these stores.

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