AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Traffic concerns surrounding a proposed gas station led to much controversy at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
A new housing development was also approved along North Donahue Street as well as improvements to the Auburn Mall and food trucks in the area.
The developing street of East University Drive is not only a main road for through traffic but is the primary street for a variety of neighborhoods.
The proposed gas station location, near Max Fitness and the Auburn University Federal Credit Union, would feature the station as well as a convenience store in an effort to provide accessibility for both the surrounding residents and passing commuters.
Residents of the area, however, were concerned about the potential impact this business could have on the already busy road.
“It’s going to cause major traffic problems,” said Ray Brown, resident of Ferndale Drive, just off of East University Drive. “I’ve lived in this area for 30 years, and I have never worried about finding gasoline because we have enough stations close by.”
City Planning Director, Forrest Cotten, gave his advice on the issue, stating, “You don’t hit anything comparable to this until you hit the shopping area.”
Other council members, however, sympathized with the disgruntled residents.
“This would be the third gas station in about a mile or two,” said Councilman Dick Phelan. “I agree with the five people who denied it; I think it’s more intense land use and I’m going to vote against it.”
Seeking a majority decision, the council was split 5-4, voting against the request.
Tuesday’s heated discussion among citizens was not only in protest of the new gas station but also for the creation of a new housing district.
The proposed development sought 230 acres of land with intent to construct a new sidewalk along North Donahue to Yarbrough Elementary School, as well as create a trail system within the city complete with a mountain bike trail.
Cotten recommended denial of the proposal stating, “the city is growing in places where an infrastructure is already in place.”
The Council, however, disagreed with the City Planning Commission, unanimously approving the new development.
Another unanimous approval by the Council included new improvements to the Auburn Mall.
Demolition has been approved for the former JC Penney store, creating a new mall entrance in its place and allowing for the addition of three bistro restaurant locations inside of the area.
This decision has also paved the way for two new retail spaces along East University Drive, in front of the mall, likely to house more restaurants.
And as new restaurants are set to appear at the Auburn Mall, food is now available on wheels, as mobile vendors were approved for specific rules and regulations.
Food trucks as well as mobile food courts and carts were approved for operation within the Auburn city limits.
Specific rules such as location to other restaurants as well as amount of time spent at each location were also established with this amendment.
Mobile food units are now required to operate 200 feet from any business unless permission has been granted by the nearest establishment to operate closer.
Additionally, these units can only operate at two locations each day limited to four hours at each site.