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

Rival gas station owner aids effort opposing QT

The owner of a gas station on Telegraph Road has helped collect more than 2,400 signatures in opposition to a proposed 24-hour QuikTrip convenience store down the road from his business.

Several businesses on Telegraph Road in Oakville have been soliciting signatures from customers since QuikTrip Corp. rejuvenated its request for a 4,555 square-foot, nine-pump gas station and convenience store on Telegraph Road about 550 feet south of Forder Road.

The QuikTrip proposal is pending before the county Planning Commission, which will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, April 11, at the County Council Chambers in Clayton.

The commission last year recommended the County Council approve a zoning change to accommodate the same request.

With opposition pouring in, however, the council refused to act on the matter, letting the proposal die after sitting idle for 90 days.

Even more opposition exists this year, based on petitions delivered to the County Council and the Department of Planning by George Minkevich, owner of the Mobil gas station at 4390 Telegraph Road.

“This is saturation. There’s so many other things that could come in,” Minke-vich told the Call. “It certainly wouldn’t help businesses in the area. You can only cut a pie of any type so many times.

“We can’t say that we’re not selfish somewhat,” he added, “but people have shown with these signatures there are other concerns. Competition is not the primary concern. However, safety is. We have experienced a tremendous amount of accidents going down Telegraph. Trucks have turned over. We’ve had run away vehicles unable to stop and nearly kill a couple of our (employees) when we were a service station.”

But an attorney representing QuikTrip, John King of Blumenfeld, Kaplan and Sandweiss, responded that the safety allegation is just a “scare tactic.”

“I don’t think it will be unsafe. Think about when you go buy gas,” King told the Call. “You don’t just go out to buy gas. You buy gas when you’re out anyway. We think 80 to 90 percent of the people that come to our store will already be out on the streets. So it’s not going to add more traffic.

“We think we’ll do fine at that location,” he added.

Nearly 2,100 people signed Minkevich’s petitions of opposition, which are an effort of several area businesses, not just Minke-vich’s Mobil station.

“I’m just a delivery man,” he said. “These are signatures from citizens.”

In addition, about 375 people wrote letters in opposition to the proposal, bringing the total opposed to more than 2,400.

During last year’s request, 1,170 people signed petitions opposing the QuikTrip proposal, while 52 signatures supported the request. The county Department of Plan-ning also received 349 letters of opposition and 18 letters of support. Also, 30 people attended a public hearing on the matter; 20 raised their hands in opposition and 10 in support.

After the council dropped the request, QuikTrip filed for a court injunction to force the zoning change, saying the current residential zoning was inconsistent with the surrounding commercial area.

The injunction still is on file at the circuit court. If the council again rejects QuikTrip’s plan, King said the company likely will press forward for a court order.

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