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Split vote spells doom for fuel station

However, the proposed convenience store and coffee kiosk gain approval from the city
by: Jim Hart The proposed site of an Arco AM-PM gas station on Highway 26 at Champion Way is within sight of the nearby Fred Meyer fueling station.

The plan to place an Arco AM-PM fueling station at Highway 26 and Champion Way has been rejected by the Sandy Planning Commission, but an associated convenience store and coffee kiosk were approved with conditions.

The decision to reject the fueling station came on a split vote partially because commissioner Nancy Szofran was absent - thus making the commission an even-numbered panel.

On advice from City Attorney David Doughman, after all testimony and deliberation, the commission took a straw vote on the question of whether the fueling station should be permitted in the I-1 (industrial) zone.

That quick tally was split 3-3, with Ron Lesowski, Rob Monteith and Don Carlton favoring the fueling station at that site and Kelly Allen, Susie Jenkins and Chairman Jerry Crosby against having a fueling station in an I-1 zone.

City staff had recommended allowing the station at that site. According to a staff report from Planning Director Tracy Brown, staff had determined the fueling station was similar in nature to tire and lube shops and auto repair, which are permitted in I-1.

The same determination was used in recent years to allow the Fred Meyer fueling station in the same zone.

But Crosby's motion was to reject the proposed interpretation that the fueling station is similar in nature to other permitted uses in I-1.

Jenkins had earlier noticed that fueling stations are permitted outright in the C-2 zone, and it would be better placed in that zone.

Prior to their deliberation, commissioners had heard a litany of reasons why local residents and other interested parties did not want the business at that location.

Reasons included the fact Sandy has seven fueling stations, and one more is not needed because that would reduce the volume of gas pumped at the existing stations. One fueling station owner even asked for a moratorium on new gas stations in Sandy.

Also mentioned was the suspicion that ODOT would place a longer concrete median on Highway 26 to prevent left turns from westbound drivers, Also stated was the fact that Sandy needs jobs paying a living wage, but this fueling station is not likely to pay more than the minimum.

Several stated they didn't understand why the station should be permitted in this zone if it is not specifically identified in the zoning code.

No one spoke in favor of the business except the applicant, Sanford Jones; his attorney, Stephen Ledoux; and his architect, Eric Ramsing of Kent, Wash.

At the end of deliberation and assignment of conditions of approval for the convenience store and coffee kiosk, a unanimous vote gave those businesses approval.

But Ledoux called for a formal vote on the fueling station, instead of waiting for a month to gain a vote with all seven commissioners present.

If Jones chooses, the commission's 3-3 rejection of his fueling station proposal could be appealed to the Sandy City Council.