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Proposed store sparks some concern

A rezoning request that would allow construction of a convenience store/gas station on West Gore Boulevard was adjusted Thursday in a recommendation that now goes to the City Council for a final decision.

The proposal from CareyLou Inc. for a facility at Southwest 26th Street and West Gore Boulevard is proceeding to the council with a more restrictive commercial zoning recommendation than developers wanted, but it keeps two access points on Cornell Avenue intact, a compromise for the City Planning Commission (CPC) and the developers.

The request from CareyLou Inc. and Arvest Bank concerns 16.5 lots along the south side of Gore Boulevard, stretching east to west from Southwest 26th to Southwest 27th streets, and south to Cornell Avenue. Representatives from Carey Johnson Oil said the eastern half of the tracts (all but five lots on Cornell) will be used for a convenience store with gas pumps, similar in design to other convenience store/gas stations in the city but with a much more expanded food menu and a drive-through window. The facility is to replace an existing EZ GO in the 2400 block of West Gore Boulevard and is less than one-half mile from a Murphy Oil facility under construction at the southwest corner of Sheridan Road and Gore Boulevard.

The tracts now hold R-1 Single-Family Dwelling District and C-1 Local Commercial District zoning, and developers had asked to change all the tracts to C-5 General Commercial District. While C-1 is the most restrictive commercial zoning district, C-5 is the least restrictive, and both planners and Planning Commission members said there are uses that would not be appropriate adjacent to a residential neighborhood.

That's why the staff recommendation  and the proposal ultimately approved by the planning commission  was to place C-1 zoning on the three lots that hold R-1 zoning (those at the corner of Cornell and Southwest 26th), then approving a Use Permitted on Review for a convenience store with gas pumps on all but five lots that start at the corner of Southwest 27th and Cornell. But while the staff recommendation was to eliminate two access points on Cornell intended to provide entrance and exit to the facility, most commissioners said the site needed those two points because of congestion that would otherwise result on Gore.

For Planning Commission members and the city planning staff, one of the major issues driving their decisions is the proximity of residential housing located immediately south of the proposed business.

Community Services Director Richard Rogalski said city planners are concerned about the proposal for C-5 zoning because of its effects on residents to the south and because most of the commercial zoning already in that area of West Gore Boulevard is C-1.

Rogalski said city staff also was concerned that the site plan shows two access points from the commercial development onto Cornell Avenue, a residential street. City staff wasn't alone in its concerns. One property owner, who said he was speaking for himself and neighbors, said traffic flow on Cornell already is dangerously heavy because students use the street as a shortcut to Cameron University. Another resident agreed, saying increased traffic is going to worsen what already are deteriorating roads. Neither man likes the idea of access points on Cornell.

The Lawton Constitution

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