Arnold council approves plan for Freeport Road petrol station and convenience store

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Arnold’s council approved plans for a petrol station and convenience store on Freeport Road.

Following a public hearing on Tuesday, council voted unanimously in favor of a conditional use needed by Yashvi Oil owner Mike Thakkar to turn the former auto repair shop at 1610 Freeport Road into a convenience store.

Council attached two conditions to its approval – that a 4ft privacy fence be erected around the perimeter of the lot, which is located between Warren Avenue and Woodberry Road, and the submission of a final site plan to the town, with Thakkar receiving all inspections and permits to operate the gas station and store.

Thakkar said he doesn’t object to the terms and hopes the station and store will be open in three to four months. While a site survey by Jeff Horneman of Horneman Surveying showed a Sunoco mark, Thakkar said he doesn’t yet have a mark for it.

Thakkar’s plans sparked concern and opposition from neighbors when council began the conditional use hearing in March. A decision was not made then, and the hearing was continued and resumed on Tuesday.

Comments from residents centered on concerns about how trucks would deliver gas to the station and maneuver in and out of the lot.

After comments and questions from several residents about the gas station, Councilor Phil McKinley reminded them that the conditional use hearing applied to the convenience store proposal, not the gas station. The property was previously a gas station and as a pre-existing use could be again.

A site survey shows that a brick addition to the right front of the building would be removed, making way for a loading area. There would be a single gas pump island under a canopy.

The underground tanks of the old service station have been removed. Thakkar said a new tank would be installed.

The survey shows seven parking spaces – five on the Warren Avenue side and two in front next to the loading area, with one disabled parking space directly in front of the building.

Horneman said he tried other layouts with up to 11 parking spaces, but they didn’t fit as well. The number of places needed depending on the size of the building was not specified during the hearing.

Jeffrey Johasky, a semi-retired lawyer, owns the property and sells it to Thakkar. His father and grandfather previously operated the gas station there.

He said they never had any problems with gas deliveries.

Johasky said he was embarrassed by what the property has become, including the fact that the previous tenant painted the building blue. He said he could put another repair shop in the building, but the last one “didn’t go well.”

Johasky said he thinks ownership will be much better under Thakkar than it is now.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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