Proposed text amendment would modernize ordinance

By Mike Anthony

We certainly understand why some Sunset Manor residents are opposed to a convenience store with gas pumps proposed for the site of the former Bob Evans on South Lindbergh Boulevard.

But we have a hard time understanding why representatives of a competing business would attend a Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen meeting to oppose a proposed text amendment related to design standards for motor-vehicle-oriented businesses.

That’s what happened at last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting when two representatives of an existing Shell station across from the site of a proposed Petro Mart — attorney Bill Remis, an attorney with DosterUllom LLC who represents Circle K, and Mike Powers, of Circle K — voiced their objections to the proposed text amendment.

But that’s not the first time the two have appeared before the board to voice their objections to the proposed ordinance. They also spoke in opposition to the proposed text amendment at the board’s October meeting, contending the amended ordinance somehow would give Petro Mart an advantage.

“… The modifications are being done to accommodate the Petro Mart proposal, and we think that Spirit Energy (owner of the Shell station) had to live with those requirements, those zoning ordinances when we originally built, rebuilt the facility and Petro Mart should have to do the same thing,” Powers said.

But times change. Some of the language contained in the current ordinance is archaic. Ward 1 Alderman Richard Gau noted last week the proposed text amendment would update an outdated ordinance and a “thorough analysis” had been performed of convenience stores and pump islands throughout the city.

We certainly could understand Circle K’s concerns when Petro Mart proposed a raised median and traffic signal for South Lindbergh Boulevard, but that proposal has been withdrawn.

Ironically, when the raised median and traffic signal were being discussed, both Powers and Chris Kemph, of Spirit Energy, said their objection was not to the proposed Petro Mart, but the raised median and traffic signal.

Perhaps attorney John King, who represents the Petro Mart developer, put it best when he contended Circle K’s objections are the Petro Mart would be “too much competition.”

Whether the Petro Mart is appropriate at its proposed location has yet to be decided by the Board of Aldermen.

But we believe the proposed text amendment makes sense and should be approved by the Board of Aldermen.