LATHROP – When Circle K packed up and left Lathrop they took their gas pumps with them.
And now, more than two years after they left the site at the corner of Louise Avenue and Cambridge Drive, a filling station is finally coming back.
Per the recommendation of the Planning Commission the Lathrop City Council approved a request Monday that will allow City Food and Liquor to move forward with plans to install the tanks and pumps required to once again provide local residents with another option when it comes to gasoline. The site, which was developed when it was still under the control of San Joaquin County, will now have to conform with Lathrop’s municipal code since the gasoline portion of the business hasn’t existed for more than six months.
According to the staff report the proposal is “a great opportunity to reuse the site with a similar use.”
Building owner AJ Khinda found himself in a precarious situation when the 35-year lease that Circle K had in place with the previous owner expired and his attempts at getting anything remotely close to market value for the property ended with the convenience store chain not only pulling out, but ripping out both the gasoline pumps and tanks in the process.
Word spread quickly that the store would be closing its doors and within days Khinda – who also owns other properties that included a restaurant – started getting phone calls from angry residents saying that they would be out protesting if he didn’t do something to stop Circle K from leaving.
At the time he said that he wasn’t placing any undue pressure on the company or asking for anything other than what was fair and legitimate at that particular time. The company made no official statement, and multiple phone calls to its headquarters were never returned.
But he rebounded quickly by renovating the interior of the building and opening back up as the same neighborhood-style store that residents had come to expect – even adding liquor sales in the process – not long after the departure of his previous tenant.
As a condition of approval, Khinda agreed to remove the A-frame signs, banners and cardstock postings affixed to light poles – all of which aren’t legal under Lathrop’s sign ordinance. An additional condition was included by staff that will require that all future signage will comply with the Lathrop Municipal Code.