Public hearing on proposed QuikTrip in Sunset Hills postponed indefinitely

Sansone asks for request to be delayed ‘until further notice’

By Mike Anthony

A public hearing on a proposal to construct a QuikTrip at the Missouri Department of Transportation’s east commuter lot at Kennerly and Weber Hill roads in Sunset Hills has been postponed indefinitely.

The Sunset Hills Planning and Zoning Commission had been scheduled to conduct a public hearing Wednesday, May 14, on QuikTrip’s request to construct the 5,773-square-foot convenience store with eight, single per island, dual-faced gasoline pumps.

Sansone Group is under contract to purchase two commuter lots at the intersection of Kennerly and Weber Hill roads from the Missouri Department of Transportation, or MoDOT, in exchange for $1.03 million and building MoDOT a new 9.5-acre lot at Rahning Road and Highway 30.

The purchase itself, approved by the Highways and Transportation Commission, is not final and is subject to zoning approval, as well as MoDOT’s typical approval of access to the site and Sansone building the new commuter lot.

However, in a May 6 email sent to City Engineer/Director of Public Works Bryson Baker, Jim Sansone wrote, “We would like to postpone until further notice the Sansone/QT petition scheduled for the May 14, 2014, meeting date.”

QuikTrip had requested a zoning change to PD-LC(B) for the 1.615-acre east commuter lot, plus approval of a preliminary development plan for the site and a conditional-use permit, or CUP, for the proposed convenience store with gas pumps and outdoor seating.

In addition, Sansone Group had requested a zoning change PD-LC(B) for the 1.25-acre west commuter lot.

Mayor Mark Furrer, who lives near the site of the proposed QuikTrip, and other nearby residents were opposed to the plan, saying it would create traffic congestion, provide little value to residents and disturb the residential setting of their neighborhood.

Furrer, who defeated incumbent Bill Nolan, launched his write-in campaign for mayor roughly two weeks before the April 8 election, sparked by his opposition to the QuikTrip. Furrer was not the only victorious write-in candidate. Donna Ernst, an aldermanic write-in candidate in Ward 4 — the site of the proposed QuikTrip — defeated incumbent Art Havener.

Furrer told the Call he met with representatives of Sansone and QuikTrip last week — Mark Kornfeld and Jim Sansone of Sansone Group and Alan Renner, QuikTrip real estate manager.

Of their decision to postpone the issue until further notice, he said, “… I think it’s wonderful.”

Furrer said he believes both QuikTrip and Sansone did “the right thing. They understood that the people were against it. I think they knew they had a tough location, and they withdrew it.

“Then they asked me specifically if I was against QuikTrip anywhere in the city, and, of course, I assured them I was not. So I said, ‘Find another location and we’ll look at it.'”

The Planning and Zoning Commission originally was scheduled to conduct a public hearing on QuikTrip’s request in April, but that meeting was postponed until a required traffic study was completed.

“… They said, ‘We haven’t done our traffic study yet. Do you think we should?’ And I said, ‘Well, I think it would be a waste of money (because) the people really don’t want it …’ It was a very friendly meeting. I listened to the proposal and basically told them why I didn’t like it, and then they withdrew it indefinitely.

“And again, I wanted to assure them, which is true, I’ve got nothing against QuikTrip or Sansone, and if they find another location, bring it to us … If they can find some other site that’s suitable, we’d certainly entertain it.”

Asked if he believed QuikTrip would come back with another proposal for the east commuter lot, Furrer said, “I do not. As one citizen asked me, ‘Have they gone away forever?’ And I said, ‘Well, forever’s a long time, but I don’t think they’re going to be coming around anytime soon because the site is so tough. There’s just not much you can do with it …”

As reported in July 2012 by the Call, the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance approving a cooperation agreement between the city and the Sansone Group for public improvements and development rights of the easternmost commuter parking lot. The duration of the cooperation pact was 18 months.

In December, aldermen voted unanimously to extend the agreement with Sansone until Jan. 10, 2015.

The May 14 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting originally was scheduled to take place in the gymnasium of the Community Center. The meeting now will take place at 7 p.m. in the Robert C. Jones Chambers at City Hall, 3939 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

The commission will conduct public hearings on the following requests:

• A petition for a lot split submitted by James and Lura Cooksey to split a single parcel into two separate parcels at 10229 E. Watson Road.

• A petition for a CUP submitted by CIS Communications LLC to erect a telecommunications tower and shelter at 9907 Sappington Road on property owned by the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection.

• A petition for an amended development plan submitted by Toys R US to make facade modifications to its existing storefront at 3600 S. Lindbergh Blvd.