Number of questions still need serious answers regarding Petro Mart

To the editor:

At the Oct. 9 Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen meeting, much ado was made about a text amendment to Sunset Hills’ zoning regulations written by attorneys for Land West No. 7 — Petro Mart — that would specifically benefit the proposed gas station at the old Bob Evan’s site.

The city held a public meeting on Sept. 11 that addressed not only the original text changes, but a conditional-use permit, zoning change and a preliminary development plan. Mayor Bill Nolan’s “Petro pet” cannot conform to existing C-1 commercial zoning, so the plan is to “spot zone” one parcel to PD-LC(B) zoning for the benefit of Petro Mart — and First Bank — to the detriment of the Sunset Manor neighborhood, several businesses and Sunset Hills Office Park.

In this case, the plans presented on paper will be crammed into the small parcel.

If aldermen allow a zoning change for one individual, every neighborhood, or even every parcel of land whether residential or commercial, could be threatened by this precedent and the courts will uphold those requests if challenged.

Since the public hearing, Land West No. 7 and the Board of Aldermen have made new amendments to the text that, in the city attorney’s opinion, are substantial.

The public has a legal right to attend another public hearing to opine on the new amendments.

According to the mayor’s Sept. 20 email to the Board of Aldermen and select Planning and Zoning Commission members, “George Eble, CEO of Western Oil — Petro Mart — withdrew his petition on Sept. 19, 2012.”

The Board of Aldermen will have a first — and probably a second reading — in November on the new text amendments.

The question remains that if Petro Mart withdrew its revised plan, why is the Board of Aldermen proceeding with the new text amendments that were written by the developer’s attorneys?

If Land West No. 7 does come back with yet another plan, they must, according to Nolan, go before the Planning and Zoning Commission in November. The November aldermanic meeting would be just six days after the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting — leaving no window for the 15-day notice for a public hearing as required by state law unless it is held in December or later.

Accordingly, state statute provides that if 30 percent of owners either of land or in the area within 185 feet of the project protest, the vote to approve the project must be by a two-thirds’ majority. Aldermen are not even aware of this because the city attorney has not informed them about it.

More and more, it appears that the mayor stands to benefit greatly, both publicly and personally, from a project that will have huge consequences for our city. First Bank will certainly benefit by dumping a property they paid over double its value for.

With Nolan’s crass comments and name calling in three different Sunset Hills Horizon newsletters to and about people who opposed this project, it’s no wonder that people are reluctant to come forward and speak their mind.

There are a number of questions that still need serious answers and the mayor stands defiantly unresponsive and critical of those who think differently than he does.