Delaware City Council heard the concerns of residents about a proposed Speedway gas station and convenience store, and also unanimously approved a capital improvement plan at its meeting Monday.
There was a first reading of a preliminary development plan for the Speedway at U.S. 23 North and Hills Miller Road, which some oppose because it will also serve semi-trucks. The plan was unanimously approved last week by the City Planning Commission.
Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle noted that some of the residents opposed to the station were in attendance. She said they could speak.
Residents asked if the plan could include a sound wall to reduce noise and headlights at night, re-timing the traffic light, whether the station would offer fleet discounts that might increase traffic, and how many trucks could be parked at any given time.
Susan McGrail said Hills-Miller was too narrow for semi-truck traffic. She cited a similar station at Cambridge, Ohio, with traffic problems that have “drained city coffers.”
While she thanked Speedway officials for their cooperation in making the site look more like Turkey Hill, McGrail said there was still work to be done.
Speedway bought the 12.9-acre property in 2014, which was already zoned as a general business district. That zoning includes business uses, including a gas station.
If approved by City Council, Speedway would also have to submit a more detailed final development plan to the City Planning Commission and City Council before construction can begin.
A full presentation to council and a vote could possibly take place at its next meeting on Oct. 26. Riggle said there would also be answers to the questions the residents had at that meeting.
The capital improvement plan examines the city’s general fund, and airport, fire, police, public works, parks, equipment replacement, technology, building maintenance, water, sewer, storm sewer, refuse, parks impact, police impact and fire impact plans for future public improvements.
Before the vote, City Manager Tom Homan said: “This is the plan, not the appropriation. The appropriation will come to you as part of the 2016 budget. So to the extent that we have to make any adjustments between now and the adoption of the budget, we can do that.”
The five-year 2016-20 plan had five readings at council meetings. It was first presented to council on Aug. 14. By charter, it was required to be adopted by Oct. 15. The resolution has to be read at least three times before adoption. Council has met for a total of four hours at two separate work sessions, asking questions about items in the capital improvement plan that could be amended.
In a memo on the capital improvement plan, Homan noted it is balanced, but “it does not begin to address the community’s critical and growing transportation needs.”
Homan said two major transportation projects are likely to begin in the next year or two, thanks to state and federal funding — the 315/U.S. 23 intersection and Pennsylvania Avenue/U.S. 23 interchange.
In the meantime, the city will unveil a new transportation plan by year’s end. The plan will update traffic projections, infrastructure components, and describe “15 priority transportation initiatives that would improve traffic flow and network connectivity while relieving congestion throughout the city.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.