King Soopers will be meeting with the city in January and will meet with the Stapleton Design Review Committee following that meeting to continue the development of their plans for a grocery store.
The presence of a gas station in a residential neighborhood is raising concerns, not just among residents, but among several advisory groups. Stapleton United Neighbors (SUN) and the Zoning and Planning Committee of Stapleton’s Citizens Advisory Board (ZAP) have formally expressed concerns about the proposed gas station in Eastbridge. SUN officially opposes a gas station in Eastbridge (see page 28) and ZAP committee chair David Netz wrote the following recommendation:
“The ZAP strongly recommends that Forest City move the gas station to the NW corner of this block. King Soopers is willing to do this. The ZAP acknowledges that if King Soopers does not build a gas station as part of its project, another gas firm would be likely to do so as allowed under zoning. Also, as confirmed after the meeting, the proposed gas station would be one of the larger ones in Denver city limits. Access to the site as well as capability to handle stacking will need to be presented in the future. Quality designs with screening walls, no off-site lighting glares and hours reduced to 5am to midnight are desired.”
The Denver Environmental Health Board heard testimony on the potential health effects to residents who live nearby, but declined to recommend a citywide setback between gas stations and residences. However a letter from the board quoted a DEH staff person as saying, “where possible, the stations be located in a way that minimizes the potential for off-site effects.”
When the Stapleton Design Review Committee informally met with King Soopers last April and first saw their plans, they brought up the suggestion to consider other locations for the gas station.
If the gas station were moved to the north, it would be further from residences, but it would be next to Williams Family Dentistry. Margie Williams, DDS, owner of the practice and an Eastbridge resident, is not in favor of a gas station at all. She asks the question, how is it better to put a gas station next to an office where people spend all day every day?
Like most dental offices, she says she employs a lot of women, most of childbearing age and points out they could spend an entire pregnancy next to a gas station. And she has concerns that traffic would back up at the gas station and block access to her business.
In Denver, a landowner with property zoned for a given use (like a gas station), has the final decision on use of the property. The city will not intervene to make an exception to allowed uses and the land owner is not required to solicit or accommodate community input.
At the December Zoning and Planning Meeting, Tom Gleason, Forest City’s vice president for public relations, said a final decision about the location of the gas station has not yet been made.