The city of Delaware’s Shade Tree Commission recently approved a street tree plan for the Speedway gas station and convenience store at U.S. 23 and Hills-Miller Road.
“The only issue I had was that all they were using was a white spruce for their evergreen and they also wanted to use black cherry as their ornamental,” city arborist Doug Richmond told the commission on April 26. “The cherry around here is really susceptible to the fungus.”
Black knot fungus is a disease that produces thick black gall around branches and stems, as well as a pink-white mold.
“The suggestion I would make is to change the black cherry to spring snow crab apple, which are scab-resistant and will give them the blooms they want in the springtime,” Richmond said. “Then change the white spruce out to a combination of Norway spruce and black spruce.”
White pine was rejected as an evergreen because they don’t do well with road salt.
The commission approved Speedway’s plans with the arborist’s suggestions.
The majority of the trees presently on the 12.9-acre site is in the northern and western portions, which Speedway will leave as a permanent conservation easement on four acres, with 2,531-caliper-inches of trees. Caliper inches are the diameters of tree trunks.
Speedway received a tree clearing permit in March to remove 1,546.4-caliper-inches of trees; and replace 376-caliper-inches; for a net loss of 1,170.4-caliper-inches. In lieu of replacement of the removed trees, Speedway paid the city $117,040 (or $100 per caliper-inch).
Final development plans for the Speedway were approved in April. The property was annexed into the city in 1968, and is zoned as a general business district, which permits a gas station. Enon, Ohio-based Speedway LLC purchased the property in May 2014, and City Council approved preliminary development plans last October.
The 4,608 square-foot gas station and convenience store would sit on the northwest corner of 23 and Hills Miller. It would be accessed by a right-in/right-out curb cut on 23, and a full-movement curb cut on Hills Miller. The gas station would have seven fueling islands for passenger vehicles and three separate diesel fueling bays for semi-trucks. There would be 34 parking spaces for passenger vehicles, and none for semis.
There is room for an access road to connect to properties in the north if needed, but it will remain unpaved for now. The former Obee’s gas station, adjacent to the property, is in Troy Township.
Some residents along Hills-Miller have voiced concerns about the Speedway since the purchase, including environmental impact, increased traffic, road damage, safety, and overnight semi-truck parking.
Speedway will begin construction in the summer, which is expected to take 5-6 months. Representatives have said the station will likely open in early 2017.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.