QuikTrip submits rezoning request for convenience store on Telegraph

By Alyson E. Raletz

The QuikTrip Corp. has submitted a rezoning request to construct a 24-hour convenience store with gas pumps on Telegraph Road, 550 feet south of Forder Road in Oakville.

But this isn’t the first time QuikTrip has applied for a zoning change at this location — or at least parts of it.

The corporation currently is seeking a change from the 10,000-square-foot R-3 Residence District and C-8 Planned Commercial District to C-8 and Amended C-8 Planned Commercial District for a 2.02-acre tract on the west side of Telegraph Road.

Members of the St. Louis County Planning Commission will discuss the rezoning request during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, in the County Council Chambers in the Administration Building of the County Government Center, 41 S. Central Ave., Clayton.

QuikTrip Corp. representatives say that this is the first time the company has applied for a zoning change at this particular location, claiming that this site is a suitable alternative to all the options that have been identified.

However, QuikTrip previously sought a zoning change on “portions” of the land identified in its current proposal, according to Debbie Salberg, the St. Louis County Department of Planning’s head of zoning.

In 1997, Salberg said, QuikTrip wanted to construct a 4,000-square-foot convenience store with 10 gas pumps.

The proposed site was a 1.5-acre tract also located on the west side of Telegraph, north of Rolens Drive and opposite Burncoate Drive.

The Planning Commission neither approved nor rejected the proposal.

“The planning department recommended that the request be denied, but the planning commission never acted on it,” she told the Call.

According to documents from a Planning Commission executive meeting on Aug. 4, 1997, the planning department cited “proximity to residential properties” as one of the justifications for denial.

According to the same document, citizens who lived near the proposed location also had opposed a QuikTrip on July 21, 1997, at a public hearing.

“Citizens from the immediate area spoke … with concerns regarding the proliferation of service stations along Telegraph Road, the potential stormwater problems, and traffic congestion along Telegraph Road,” according to the document. “One speaker representing the owners of the apartment complex to the west spoke in favor of this request. By a show of hands, 9 were in favor and 14 were in opposition.”

In October of 1997, the commission granted QuikTrip a withdrawal without prejudice, according to Salberg, and the commission never took any additional action.

QuikTrip Corp. also has sought rezoning changes on other Telegraph sites. For instance, in March 2001 the corporation sought to change another residential district to commercial for a 3.17-acre site on the east side of Telegraph about 250 feet south of Martigney Drive. The location was the former Katydids Garden Shop at 4416 Telegraph.

At least four neighborhood groups circulated petitions in opposition to the proposal claiming that a 24-hour convenience store would have been too intrusive for a residential area.

Though the Planning Commission voted 5-1 to recommend approval of the request, Campisi opposed the proposal, citing strong public opposition.

John P. King an attorney with Blumenfeld, Kaplan and Sandweiss, P.C. representing the QuikTrip Corp. in its current rezoning request, told the Call that homes that sit on the land currently zoned residential, 550 feet south of Forder on Telegraph, are under contract and would be bought out and knocked down if the Planning Commission and County Council approve QuikTrip’s current request for a site on Telegraph.

Also, King said QuikTrip representatives have spoken with the owner of an adjacent apartment complex, who “apparently is not against” QuikTrip setting up shop so close to the complex.

According to the QuikTrip Corp., the complex owner is supportive of the site and the first chance for the rest of the public to have input on the rezoning request will be at the hearing on Nov. 17.

If the commission and the St. Louis County Council approve the rezoning request, construction would be set for summer 2004.