Downtown station idea runs out of gas

By Tamara Steiner on August 25, 2014

It was “Uh oh, here we go again” at the Clayton City Council meeting last week when Councilman Howard Geller suggested the city not rule out a potential gas station when seeking a developer for the 1.67-acre vacant lot on Main Street.
“I don’t want to stir the pot,” Geller said when he opened the discussion.
“Too late,” retorted Vice-mayor Dave Shuey, who said he is “totally opposed” and likened Geller to Don Quixote tilting at windmills.
In 2002 a gas station was proposed for the corner of Center and Clayton Road, where CVS is now located. The issue was such a hot potato that the council sought an advisory vote from the residents, who rejected the proposed gas station by an overwhelming majority, and the city council denied the use permit.
“That was a past council that made that decision,” said Geller. “Not this sitting council.”
The idea had no support from the rest of the council members. Mayor Hank Stratford said maybe the site where the old fire station is on Clayton Road might be a possible site, “but not in the historic downtown.”
The Municipal Code specifically lists a gas station as a prohibited use. Such a use would require a zoning change.
Including a gas station in the marketing plan as a potential use “would be dealing in bad faith,” said council member Julie Pierce. The last time a gas station was proposed, “It was shot down in flames.”
The downtown property is currently listed with Transwestern, a Walnut Creek commercial realty firm. The firm is actively seeking developers for the 1.67-acre Main Street parcel and a buyer for a proposed 7,000-square-foot mixed-use development already approved for the .75-acre parcel on Oak Street.
A one-acre parcel behind City Hall is also available, but not currently listed with the broker. Geller suggest the property be actively marketed, but the rest of the council was not behind that idea. The awkward location of the lot makes it unsuitable for almost anything except residential.

Previous post:

Next post: