Gas station representatives plead their cases for variances from city code during a Gardner Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Tuesday night.
The March 6 meeting was the first gathering of the group since October 2010.
Three members of the five member board listened to staff presentations, consultants and opposition on a variety of requests from QuikTrip and from Singh Food & Gas – the convenience store and gas station at 18865 Gardner Road.
The board granted requests from Singh Food & Gas for a variances related to parking set backs and landscaping requirements, based largely on a Kansas Gas Service easement that prohibits plantings and because the variances already exist on the property.
Not all of QuikTrip’s requests received approval.
Sean Duke, a civil consultant for QuikTrip, told board members that the proposed Gardner store is a new generation of QuikTrip. The shop won’t be a square box design.
“It’s quite different than what you’re used to,” he said.
The store asked for an exception to a city code that requires a parking setback of 15 feet. Due to existing easements across the length of the site, and the need for adequate space around fuel pumps, QuikTrip site designers requested to be allowed to have setbacks as narrow as 7-feet in some spots.
“We want to make sure we have plenty of space at those pumps,” Duke said. “That’s really a key for QuikTrip.”
However, Scott Anderson, an attorney for Casey’s General Store – a neighbor of the proposed QuikTrip site, told the board the proposed QuikTrip store is simply too big for the parcel of land. The recently-built Casey’s on Gardner Road complies with all Gardner codes, Anderson said.
“Now you have a new project that doesn’t have to comply,” he said. “The project has to fit on the parcel they selected.”
Zoning appeals board members agreed to approve the parking setback exception, however QuikTrip consultants didn’t receive approval on two other requests.
Representatives of the store asked to be allowed more signage that what is allowed in Gardner’s code. The code allows three signs, one of which can be a monument sign. Due to an old agreement, a monument sign for Moonlight Plaza businesses currently exists on the property, and board members agreed to allow the QuikTrip store a second monument sign on the property.
However, the board members denied a request to allow a monument sign larger than prescribed in city code and a request for additional signage on either end of the gas canopy.
“You’ve got to have a standard – whatever the standard is,” board member Neale Wooten said. “…Everyone is going to want a bigger sign. In my opinion, I don’t see where this is a hardship.”