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A convenience store wants to replace a pizza place in Carlisle. Some residents are fighting it.

A group of Carlisle residents is raising concerns about a proposed gas station/convenience store that could be built near their homes and adjacent to the village’s business district.

Casey’s Marketing Company of Ankeny, Iowa, operator of Casey’s General Store, is seeking a conditional use permit to build a 10-pump gas station/convenience store at the southwest corner of Central and Lomar avenues where a pizza restaurant was located.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on March 1 and the discussion will continue at its April 5 meeting. The project represents a $4.4 million investment in the village, said Village Manager Julie Duffy.

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According to Planning Commission documents, the project could employ 20 to 30 people, and typically 10 to 15 are full-time positions. The business would be open initially from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. but could be expanded to as much as 24 hours a day.

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In addition to the gas station, a convenience store with some grocery items as well as freshly prepared food like pizza, subs, sandwiches, salads and bakery items will be on site. Officials said this operation differs from competitors in that products are mostly made to order for the customer.

Chuck Wiggins, a Lomar Avenue resident who would live across the street from the proposed gas station/convenience store where a proposed entrance would be located, said the project does not meet the 13-point criteria to allow it.

Wiggins said those concerns are noise, increased traffic as well as proximity of the underground fuel storage tanks and potential leakage into water wells used by homes in the neighborhood. He also said a proposed gas station/convenience store would affect residential property values. Another concern raised was vehicle and pedestrian safety as the project is about a block from the Carlisle Schools campus.

“When the (zoning) code was written, it was written for a reason,” Wiggins told this news outlet. “They don’t meet the requirements as they’re written.”

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Another nearby resident, Andie Doller, agrees with Wiggins that the project does not meet the requirements to obtain a conditional use permit.

She is also a part of a social media group called Concerned Citizens of Carlisle which was formed in opposition to the proposed project. In addition, Doller said she was concerned that residents outside of the 500-foot radius were not notified by mail of the zoning application even though a legal advertisement was published in the Journal-News.

Doller said she does not want the current property owners to miss out on a sale but wants to make sure the concerns of residents are addressed before the planning commission makes a decision.

“Let’s make sure all of the regulations are met,” she said.

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Officials from Casey’s corporate offices did not return calls or emails for comment about the project.

In the staff report on the project that was presented at the March 1 Planning Commission meeting, it was noted that Lomar Avenue would need to be widened from 18 feet to 28 feet and the site would be required to have curbs and gutters. Traffic analysis submitted indicated that no additional improvements would be needed.

The staff report noted there are two other gas stations nearby. Staff members said they were not aware of any detrimental impact that either of these existing properties have had on any of the commercial and residential properties in their immediate vicinities.

The staff report said the proposed development use would not impede the ability for these two properties to be used as either a B-3 business property or an R-3 single family home and the district already has retail, restaurant, churches, offices and single family dwellings.

“There is minimal potential for future hardship on the conditional use that could result from the proposed use being surrounded by uses permitted by right that may be incompatible,” the staff report said. “The proposed use of a convenience store with fuel service is consistent with surrounding uses and zoning. The proposed use fits well with the neighborhood and surrounding uses and does not result in substantial or undue adverse impact oh nearby property.”

Caseys General Stores expanded into Ohio in late 2016 and is operating in 15 states. The company has recently built similar facilities in New Lebanon, Clayton and Huber Heights.

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