MFA Oil trying again to build Break Time on Rock Quarry Road

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 | 9:43 p.m. CST
The map shows the proposed location of a Break Time convenience store at Rock Quarry Road and Grindstone Parkway. Neighbors voiced concerns in September about the potential gas station. The city of Columbia recommended the rejection of the proposal while the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval. The neighborhood opposition prompted the withdrawal of the request in the fall. The developer is now back with the request to rezone the property.

COLUMBIA— A local oil company will try again to get approval for a controversial plan to build a Break Time gas station at Grindstone Parkway and Rock Quarry Road.

The plan is to build the 24-hour convenience store to serve the recent buildup of nearby student housing complexes.

Neighbors expressed opposition to MFA Oil Co.'s initial proposal in the fall, and the oil company withdrew a request to rezone the land for the development hours before a scheduled City Council vote on the matter.

A little changed version of that proposal will now appear before the council in March.

Representatives for Break Time and MFA Oil Co. told city staff and the public Tuesday night that, under the new plan, a sound barrier fence would be moved closer to residences and away from the gas station.

Attorney Phebe LaMar, who represents MFA, said the new proposal better meets neighbors' requests, which included running a sound barrier along their properties with additional trees planted between that fence and the gas station. 

"We're doing a belt-and-suspenders approach to screening back there, because we're actually meeting the requirements in two different ways," LaMar said.

LaMar said MFA has also agreed to apply for a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment that would allow the company to build another sound barrier for residents of the Highland Mobile Home Park across Rock Quarry Road.

Other than the changes to the sound barrier, the plan shown on Tuesday includes the same building specifications as the previous one, measuring approximately 5,000 square feet.

Neighbors still oppose the project because they believe it could increase traffic, noise and crime in the area.

Craig Haas, a resident of Southland Drive, said Rock Quarry Road was supposed to act as a sort of dividing line, with high density on the east side and low density on the west side. The proposed gas station would disrupt that balance, he said.

Jan Pritchard, another resident of the Rock Quarry area who previously filed a protest petition with neighborhood support, also spoke in opposition.

Residents asked for further details such as the height of the outdoor lights planned for the station. LaMar didn't know but said she would find out.

LaMar said her client is complying with every recommendation from the city while planning the gas station, including construction of a sidewalk around the property.

City planner Matthew Lepke said he doesn't expect city staff to change their position concerning the proposal, but said they will take the updated plan into consideration.

The proposal, along with city staff's new recommendation, will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission at its Feb. 21 meeting. It will be read at the City Council meeting on March 4. The council could then vote on the proposal as early as March 18.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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robert link January 30, 2013 | 6:50 a.m.

While I don't own or live on property abutting this site, I wouldn't agree with the proposed development of a gas station here. I wouldn't use it and don't see it as a convenience at this location.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders January 30, 2013 | 12:03 p.m.

Yeah, I can't imagine why anyone would build a convenience store at an intersection on a major city thoroughfare near thousands of students.

What are they thinking!!!

IMO, MFA (whom I otherwise loathe, being an ethanol welfare queen) looks to be making an effort to minimize their impact. Honestly, these people who are complaining lost their tranquil community when Grindstone Pkwy was built. Now all of the protests just looks like sour grapes.

I wouldn't want this built next to my house either. However, I'd never move to an area near undeveloped land, pretending that I had the right to control it to my own liking. If you want tranquility, get out of the city.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 30, 2013 | 12:26 p.m.

RichardS: However, I'd never move to an area near undeveloped land, pretending that I had the right to control it to my own liking.

Well said. You'd think folks would learn.......

(Report Comment)

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