Carlisle delays decision on controversial gas station

Nearly 60 people crammed into Carlisle Town Hall on Thursday for the monthly Planning Commission meeting concerning the proposed Casey’s General Store gas station/convenience store.

After public comments for and against granting a conditional use permit for the proposal to be located at the former Pizza Hotline at the corner of Central Avenue (Ohio 123) and Lomar Drive, the commission still had more questions and tabled a decision until the May meeting.

However, due to deadlines in the village’s planning code, Planning Commission Chair Robert Hurt called for a special meeting for 7 p.m. April 19 to make a decision on the conditional use permit. Hurt asked for the special meeting after Thursday’s meeting ended.

ExploreMORE: Carlisle residents cite traffic, safety as reasons against proposed gas station/convenience store

Before Thursday’s public forum started, Hurt told the audience that there would be no disruptions and anyone who disrupted the meeting would be asked to leave. He also set a 30-minute limit for the public forum with each person speaking getting two minutes. Sixteen people raised their concerns and gave comments during the nearly hour-long hearing.

Steve Runge, a Franklin attorney representing resident Chuck Wiggins gave each of the six planning commission members a folder outlining six of the 13 criteria in order to receive a conditional use permit that the residents feel are not in compliance with the village’s code.

Wiggins and several other residents claimed the proposed gas station/project would not be harmonious with the rest of the neighborhood and that it will lower their property values. Other concerns included safety, noise and light pollution, health risks due to underground fuel storage tanks in proximity to private water wells, increased traffic on narrow neighborhood streets built in the 1920s that were not designed for heavy delivery trucks. He also said some small towns have rejected proposals to build a Casey’s in their communities.

Resident Lester Charles said he’s for progress, but not at expense of other local businesses, such as two other gas stations nearby.

“Business people work hard to develop their businesses,” he said. “… This is impractical and not necessary and I don’t know why you’re considering this. It won’t take long to put them out of business. Don’t do this.”

Another resident, James Rutherford raised traffic concerns with large tanker trucks and making left turns onto Jamaica Road and Lomar Drive. He suggested moving the proposed $4.5 million, 10-pump gas station/convenience store on the other side of the village near North Union Road where there is a commercial district.

One woman said the proposed project would be a great opportunity for the village to increase its tax revenues as well as having another place for her two school-age children to go eat at. She said it would be a good opportunity for with the new K-12 school to be built.

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Huber Heights City Councilmen Richard Shaw and Glenn Otto, urged the planning commission to approve the permit and said Casey’s was a good company to work with. They said Huber Heights planning code is similar to Carlisle. That city approved a new Casey’s General Store that is being built next to that city’s middle school and two other gas stations.

Catherine Cunningham, an attorney representing Casey’s said the company has already moved a driveway to accommodate Wiggins’ concern. She said the company would be in total compliance with the village code when it gets to the final site plan review. Cunningham said more detailed engineering and traffic studies would be done as the project goes into the next phase.

“It’s a big decision,” Cunningham said. ” They’re taking the time to look at all of the materials.”

Planning Commission member Jonathan McEldowney, who is also a Carlisle councilman, said he had more questions that needed to be answered and moved to table a decision to May, which all members agreed to before the meeting adjourned.

Resident Andie Doller said called the tabling of the decision “a small victory.

“I’m glad the Planning Commission is not making a hasty decision,” she said. “They asked a lot of good questions. I hope they put themselves in our shoes. If they do, they’ll find a conditional use permit is not OK.”

Wiggins agreed, saying he was glad the planning commission was taking the time to review all of the conditional use requirements and give it their full consideration.

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