South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

A1 Wine & Spirit petitions for new location and building

Renderings of the proposed A-1 Wine & Spirits at the intersection of Telegraph and Pottle roads.

The St. Louis County Planning Commission heard a public hearing last week for a new A1 liquor location in Oakville.

Dharmesh Sharma is requesting a conditional use permit in the C-2 commercial district to construct a 1-story A1 Wine & Spirit package liquor store at 4390 Telegraph Road, at the intersection of Pottle Road. The location is the site of a now-closed Phillips 66 gas station and convenience store.

The property is located in Oakville, in the 6th County Council District of Councilman Ernie Trakas, and the Mehlville School District.

The new storefront would replace A1’s current location in South County at 4334 Telegraph Road in a shopping center just north from the proposed site.

The new building would be 3,980 square feet on a .41 acre tract with 16 parking spaces. The space A1 is currently in is a little over 1,900 square feet.

“We are renting … right now and we would like to move to that location to own our property,” Sharma said at the commission’s Feb. 13 public hearing. “The property we are renting right now is very small … it is very congested, it is hard to walk.”

The new building would more than double the space of A1’s current rental space according to Sharma. A1 employs four to five part-time and full-time employees but would be able to employ six to 10 employees in the new space.

According to Sharma, the new storefront would be a $2.1 million investment.

The business would operate seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. except on Sunday, when the store would only be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The building would be built with its rear to both Pottle and Telegraph roads, meaning the proposed plan will have to be heard by the county’s zoning adjustment board to gain relief from the county’s setback requirements, since the building would be so close to the roads.

Additionally, the site plan showed two entrances to the lot, one from Telegraph and one from Pottle. The entrances would be both directions in and out, which concerned some of the commissioners. Engineer Gary Kimbell said they were open to making the Telegraph entrance a right out only to northbound Telegraph, forcing anyone wanting to go southbound to use the Pottle entrance and light at the intersection with Pottle and Telegraph.

Two residents spoke against the petition, including the owner of the shopping center where A1 is currently renting, Jack Swanson.

“I’m not opposed to the business being there. I’m opposed to the site plan. I think it’s backward. It will be unattractive. I’m not opposed to the tenant … he’s been a great tenant … I was going to say lousy architect but I shouldn’t do that,” Swanson said. “People cannot turn out of my center, they can’t turn left to turn south. It’s impossible … that’s the beauty about the drive that comes out to Pottle … The way this is laid out … I think there’s a site distance problem. That building built right almost on the property line is going to make it difficult … for a lot of my customers who come out that way.”

Swanson was also concerned about potential advertising from the new location.

“All liquor stores plaster their windows with beer signs and liquor signs and I’m afraid that the temptation will be too great to have that 100 feet or so of wall right up on the street, it’s going to be too tempting to plant signs on it,” Swanson said. “I think that that problem could be taken care of if they turned the store around.” 

Bill Tanner, property manager for the retail property north of the site and someone who works closely with Swanson, also spoke in opposition.

“We’re not opposed to the use but opposed to the plan,” Tanner said. “The site lines for our customers and visitors coming out of our property to Pottle, to the red light at Telegraph and Pottle.”

Sharma rebutted, telling the commission A1’s business model was not that of a typical corner liquor store but that of a high-end wine and spirit store and that it would not look like a corner liquor store with a lot of advertising outside.

The commission will consider a recommendation for the petition at a future executive meeting.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to reflect that A1 does not have a hyphen. 

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