A 12-month extension for a gas station and mini mart at the corner of California Street and County Line Road was unanimously approved Monday night by the Calimesa Planning Commission.
The commissioners themselves didn’t have many comments at the June 10 meeting on the project that was originally approved in June 2017 for 24 months.
However, resident Hollie LeCou was present to voice her concern about a gas station, with a car wash and convenience store, being constructed in a more residential area even though the site location has a neighborhood commercial designation, which seeks to provide small-scale, low-intensity development for neighborhoods.
“You won’t have to go so far for milk,” Chair Mike Barron said to LeCou, the mother of two young children who moved across the street, on the Yucaipa side of County Line Road, about a year ago.
She laughed before adding a serious response.
“Yes, there are certain conveniences, but there are a lot of concerns,” LeCou said, noting noise and air pollution, gas leaks in the ground and crime.
“I know it’s too late to say I don’t want a gas station over there, but I am interested in the environmental impact report. I am concerned about noise,” LeCou said. “I am concerned about pollution, light and sound.”
LeCou also wondered about crime around the convenience store.
“Is this convenience store going to sell alcohol?” she asked. “How disturbing is it going to be right in the middle of a residential neighborhood? My concern is how it is going to impact our quality of life.”
Planning Manager Kelly Lucia, who presented the agenda item, updated LeCou.
“They have not applied for a conditional use permit for alcohol sales at this time,” Lucia said, referring to applicant Timothy Mahoney of Simmons Built.
Of course, that could change. Lucia informed LeCou about the steps she can take if that happens.
“If an application is received, it will require a public hearing and notification within 300 feet of the business,” Lucia said, advising LeCou to check with the city on a regular basis if she lives outside the distance where a notification is required.
“Does that apply even though I am in the other county?” LeCou asked.
“Yes,” Lucia said in reply.
There are also restrictions on the car wash in regards to operating hours, which were approved for 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and underground gasoline tanks are highly regulated, Lucia informed LeCou.
“This is California. It’s one of the most stringent on air pollution and things like that,” Barron said.
Also approved at the June 10 meeting was another gas station item. The Shell Station at Calimesa Boulevard and Sandalwood Drive requested approval of plans to expand its convenience store by 1,244 square feet, almost double its existing 1,250 square feet.
Besides the addition, the plans include moving the trash enclosure and the air pumps near the car wash to assist with the traffic flow, explained Assistant Planner Maryn Wells, who presented the item to the commissioners.
“The traffic engineer did take a look at the parking lot arrangement and has commissioned the project to change some of the parking spot locations, striping and that easternmost driveway, which is currently an entry and exit. It will be exit only from the car wash to have a little more safety on that side,” Wells said.
Commissioner Charles Hurt remained concerned about the traffic flow near the car wash. He wanted to know if the exit would be a right turn only. Wells said that was not included in the plans.
“It doesn’t say that, but I kind of question not having that, a right turn only,” Hurt said. “For you to get across from that exit in a left turn, I am not sure that is a good idea.”
Wells said she would relay Hurt’s concerns to the traffic engineer.