After months of seeming dormancy of the proposed not-so-grand QT gas station at Grand and Lafayette, we have our first of many steps before us to facilitate the development in the Tiffany neighborhood. This proposal is by far not the “signature development” the Midtown Redevelopment Plan called for at this location. Check out the previous coverage for background.
NextSTL – Development Planning Bait and Switch
The plan includes one parcel that hosts a two-family residence. It is zoned C – Multiple Family Residential. Gas stations aren’t allowed in that zone, so a change to H. Area Commercial is required. The two-family would be demolished for pavement in the rear of the building. Zoning changes are considered by the Planning Commission. They also require a board bill ate the Board of Aldermen. Thus far one has not been filed. Current Ald Davis promised the Tiffany neighborhood that this project would not proceed without their support. The Tiffany Community Association has not held a vote on whether to support it or not. Voters in the new 7th ward should be sure to ask their candidates what their stance on the matter is.
The Planning Commission meeting is Wednesday December 14th at 5:30 pm. You can attend via Zoom. I urge readers to testify against. If you cannot attend the meeting, you can submit testimony in writing by emailing Jonathan Roper at [email protected]
Even if this zoning change is endorsed by the Planning Commission there are many more steps and opportunities to express opposition and block this mistake. The zoning change requires a board bill. The two-family is not within the Midtown Redevelopment Corporation Chapter 353 area, so the demolition (a demo permit application was submitted Dec 9, 2021) would be considered by the Cultural Resources Office and, presuming it denied, if appealed, the Preservation Board would consider it. The vacation of McRee Ave requires a board bill. QT plans to seek a CID to pay for moving the highway onramp to the east so that shoppers would py for it (note the CID sales tax wouldn’t apply to gas). A CID requires a board bill. If any zoning variances are required, the Board of Adjustment would consider them. This is but the first battle to prevent a poor low-productivity land use here in a city desperate for residents, tax base, and economic activity, not more wealth-shredding gas stations, and protect surroundings from blight, pollution, carcinogens, crime, car traffic, crashes and noise.
Community and Environmental Defense Services – How To Stop Poorly-Planned Gas Stations & Convenience Stores
Another gas station battle in the St. Louis area is in Creve Coeur. Check out graeserneighbors.org for the latest.
More broadly it should be city policy that gas stations should not be allowed within 500? feet of residences, schools. day cares, the sick, etc. A step further might be to only allow them in J. Industrial zoned areas. Of course and unfortunately so many existing ones would be grandfathered in. But we need to start somewhere; check out how littered just one area of the city is with underground fuel tanks left by a century of motordom.
Current and future generations are left holding the bag, the cost often socialized via tax incentives amounting to yet another driving subsidy, pushing up redevelopment costs. Another policy idea – if an outfit wants to build a new gas station, they must pay for clean up of a gas station brownfield site. It would be a way to recapture some of the subsidy the industry has enjoyed for the past century.
Will you pledge to testify at the meeting or submit in writing?