Members of the Eagle town staff made their collective opinion regarding rezoning for a new Kum & Go convenience store on the west end of town abundantly clear Tuesday night.
They think it’s a bad idea.
Kum & Go has proposed building a 24-hour, 5,000 square-foot gas station and convenience store at a vacant lot located on the southwest corner of the Sylvan Lake roundabout on the western end of town. The area currently is zoned as a residential/multi family tract and the proposal would require a zoning change to allow the commercial operation.
Tuesday night, several representatives for the company detailed extensive safety measures that would be part of the gasoline operation, designed to prevent and contain any possible contamination from the site. Additionally, the company’s traffic consultant presented a study showing that the store would not generate much additional traffic, but rather it would lure in customers who are already driving through the area.
Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell launched the staff report regarding the Kum & Go application by highlighting the proposed development’s proximity to Brush Creek, which he referred to as “arguably the most important amenity in our community.”
Powell detailed Eagle’s history of Brush Creek preservation efforts and then turned over the microphone to Kevin Sharkey, assistant town engineer. Sharkey noted that while there are no applicable, specific federal or state regulations regarding gas station location related to waterways, the town is very concerned about the compatibility of the Kum & Go considering its proposed site next to Brush Creek.
Sharkey noted that the proposed station is located above the town’s planned Lower Basin Water Treatment Plant, which could cause issues in the future. He also cited statistics compiled from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showing a contaminant threat score rating for the proposed Kum & Go of 71.1 — classified as “high” in the state’s 100-point scale.
“The consequence of an occurrence is pretty severe,” said Sharkey. “At this point, based just on water quality, we would recommend denial.”
In reaction to the report, town board members noted they wanted to be fair in assessing the risks presented by the development proposal.
“I am just trying to assess the real risk,” said town board member Scott Turnipseed. “I know there is a risk there. There is a risk with everything.”
Turnipseed noted that the town currently has gas stations operating within 300 feet of the river and that the monitoring and safety technology proposed by Kum & go is definitely more extensive than existing operations employ.
“I think there is a low possibility of a leak. The problem is the consequence of having a fuel leak in our drinking water system is severe,” said Tom Gosiorowski, town engineer.
“Everything is a risk, some are controllable and some are not,” said Powell.
Members of the public who offered comment Tuesday night echoed many of the town staff’s concerns.
“Is this the best thing for this particular site? I think not,” said John Shipp, owner of The Dusty Boot and Luigi’s Pasta House.
“I am definitely all for tax revenue. However, not for this type of business operation,” said Huston Perkins of HP’s Provisions. He noted that Kum & Go would not bring something new to the retail mix in town because there are already five existing gas stations including three gas station/convenience store operations.
Kent Rose of the Eagle Ranch Homeowners Association said the proposed store doesn’t have a realistic access plan because the association isn’t likely to allow an encroachment of the landscaping at the development’s entrance. Additionally, Rose argued that the Colorado Department of Transportation’s plan to replace the bridge over Brush Creek on U.S. Highway 6 complicates the possibility of access from the state highway.
“Eagle Ranch has done a lot of work for water quality of Brush Creek and this development would be a slap in the face,” Rose added.
Jen Wright, one of the original Eagle Ranch developers, said commercial use at the site was considered when Eagle Ranch was first proposed. But as the development team looked at all the issues, Wright said members opted to designate the site as residential instead because that would be “a more gracious entrance” to the development.
With the conclusion of the developers statements, the staff report and public comment, the town board was poised to begin its deliberations of the Kum & Go proposal, but those comments will be postponed. Mayor Yuri Kostick and town board member Mikel “Pappy” Kerst were absent this week and Kostick had requested that the whole board be present for the final decision. The file was continued to the next regular town board meeting, scheduled Tuesday, May 28.