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Ripon planners say no to convenience store & gas station
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The Ripon Planning Commission on Monday denied the River Road Gas Station Major Site Plan Permit, citing public safety as one of the main concerns.

"If the area was fully developed, I would have no problems approving this project," said one of the commissioners.

They voted based on the gas station/convenience store plan with limited food service equipped with drive-thru based on findings -- the project is consistent with the goals, policies, standards and maps or the General Plan as the architectural design of the gas station planned for 112 W. River Rd. (zoned for Neighborhood Commercial) blends in with the surrounding area, according to local developer John B. Anderson, who was representing the applicant.

He noted future plans call for River Road to be a major six-lane expressway.

"Ripon will grow from east to north, but it won't happen overnight," Anderson said.

Commissioners, in part of their reason for denying the project, mentioned River Road as currently being hazardous, especially in the area of the stop-about at North Ripon Road.

They cautioned that the project could also attract more traffic to the area.

The Ripon Police Department had earlier concerns about the property bordering on the city limit and possibly bringing in more crime. For that, Police Chief Ed Ormonde suggested installing better outside lighting and one MESH Wireless Access Point and City Security Video Camera.

Commissioners didn't agree with a few findings in the report by Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart, who mentioned that in order to approve the Major Site Plan Permits, the Planning Commission must be able to make each of the findings based on substantial evidence for the record.

They listed the following:

  • Adequate utilities. roadway improvements, sanitation, water supply, drainage, and other necessary facilities have been provided, and the proposed improvements are properly related to existing and proposed roadways.
  • Issuance of the permit will not be significantly detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare, or be injurious to the property or improvements of adjacent properties.

Zuidervaart added that the public had concerns. By Friday, 29 weighed in, opposing the project while two were for it.

"We had 35 more who were opposed and a petition (against the project) with 39 signatures," he said.

The main concern was safety followed by crime.

Commissioner Debra Van Essen noted that the applicant can appeal the decision to the Ripon City Council.