Town OKs Kroger Gas Station

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Drawing courtesy HNTB
(posted Apr 15)

Kroger's proposal to develop a fuel center in the Speedway Super Center met with some hesitation by the town council at its April 13 meeting. In a 3-1 vote, Council President Eileen Fisher voted against the proposal, hoping Kroger would delay the project until the Area Two Master Plan is approved.

Councilor Gary Raikes was concerned the station would contribute to the bottleneck congestion at the Crawfordsville Road entrance by Arby's. Kroger's did not have a site plan available during the presentation for councilors to see the site's location or how traffic will enter and exit the station.

It was the Kroger representatives' position that the traffic congestion is caused by the Crawfordsville Road entrance itself, not by the proposed station. EMHT engineer Rick Reynolds said the station will not increase traffic because its users will be Kroger's customers. Reynolds said the layout would direct traffic around the fuel center as well as give delivery trucks the ability to fill underground tanks without impeding traffic. He said traffic at the intersection is the shopping center's responsibility, and Kroger's responsibility is diverting traffic around the fuel center.

Raikes thinks traffic will increase as a result of Kroger's 30,000 sq ft addition, but did not want to turn down the investment in the community. Raikes repeatedly gave the company accolades for its decision to make their $1 million investment, including a 180 sq ft building. The station will be open 24 hours a day with an attendant on duty from 7 am to 11 pm.

Raikes said master plan drafts discuss new shopping center entrances, and he would like to see the project fit into future redevelopment plans. Raikes said if Area Two had overlay zoning like the Speed Zone, it would help the council have more control over the growth occurring in Area Two. It is his desire to partner with Kroger to work out traffic concerns.

Town Manager Barbara Lawrence said her initial meeting with Kroger in December was to talk about redevelopment efforts. She encouraged Kroger to delay the project due to incomplete redevelopment plans. The City of Indianapolis has to approve the improvement location permit as well .

Attorney Mike Quinn, representing Kroger, said the company is willing to work with the town on any problems that need to be corrected. "We can't foresee everything" he added.

The council had no conclusive evidence about an increased traffic problem since no traffic studies were conducted. Quinn said Kroger expects to comply with the wellhead protection rules. The town's aquifer is located below the Speedway Super Center.

The Area Two Master Plan has not been released to the public. Initial plans started in February 2008, with two conceptual plans unveiled in September.

The council also approved Rock'n On Main Street for its third event on Carb Day. Main Street will be closed from 14th to 16th Streets until 3 am Saturday. The council waived permit fees.

Councilor Bill Suffel asked if the Civic Council Advisory Committee looked at the event's request. Lawrence responded that the committee hasn't had any meetings nor is there enough time now for the committee to review the event.