After four and a half hours of public hearings Tuesday that were filled with waves of often-conflicting numbers and sharp criticism from nearby residents, the put off final consideration of a request for a Petro Mart gas station and convenience store on South Lindbergh Boulevard at Interstate 44, deciding more study is required before they can make an informed decision.
The project requires a zoning change, lot consolidation, conditional use permit, and preliminary development plan--as well as some changes to Lindbergh Boulevard.
More than 20 people spoke during the public hearings. The vast majority were opposed to the project, primarily because the Petro Mart would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There also were many concerns about safety in the area.
, a traffic plan that would add a traffic signal at South Lindbergh Blvd. and Monica Drive, as well as a raised median in the center of Lindbergh Boulevard. The median would restrict motorists from making any left turns into businesses on the west side of the raod, except at the new traffic light.
The Petro Mart project is being proposed by Land West #7 L.L.C. Speaker after speaker lauded Petro Mart as a good company, while at the same time objecting to the added traffic and commotion that it would bring to a site that backs up to a residential area.
The Sunset Hills aldermen must weigh the impact of the project against the estimated $50,000 to $60,000 in sales tax that would be generated from Petro Mart if it is approved.
In the end, as Tuesday's marathon meeting came to a close near midnight, the aldermen voted to spend as much as $14,900 on a study by PGAV Planners to assess the impact of the project on traffic safety in the affected area. PGAV is expected to make a thorough study and report back to the aldermen in an effort to sort out some of the conflicting opinions and to provide a third party assessment of the Petromart plan.
"We need to make sure that whatever we do that it's the right thing for Sunset Hills," said Alderman Richard Gau, whose First Ward is the location of the Petro Mart project.
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