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posted: 2/16/2013 8:00 AM

Gas station plan concerns Aurora neighbors

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Aurora residents of Oakhurst North and nearby subdivisions are raising concerns about a business that hopes to be their new neighbor: Speedway.

The company wants to build a gas station and a 4,600-square-foot convenience store at the southwest corner of Eola Road and Liberty Street, and its plans are scheduled to come before the Aurora planning commission at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Alderman Lynda Elmore said she is encouraging nearby residents to attend the meeting after hearing concerns on several fronts, including worries about additional traffic, the safety of children walking to schools and increased noise and light pollution.

"A lot of those types of things are coming up," said Elmore, who has held two meetings to give neighbors an early explanation of the proposed development. "I think the neighbors probably have a reason to be concerned."

The commission will be considering whether to allow the gas station as a special use on the 5.6-acre site, which is zoned for general retail businesses.

"Any time you're looking at a special use, you're saying 'is it the highest and best use for that land?'" Elmore said.

Residents of the Oakhurst North neighborhood, which borders the property Speedway is looking to develop, say a gas station would not be the best use.

"I really don't think it is needed when we have several other gas stations already on Eola," resident Janine McDonough said.

She and others are concerned another fueling station would only increase congestion on Eola, which they say has become a busy thoroughfare since the opening of the interchange at I-88.

Metea Valley and Waubonsie Valley high schools both are on Eola Road, while Nancy Young Elementary School and Francis Granger Middle School both are near the intersection of Eola and Liberty.

As an Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school board member and a resident of Oakhurst North, Mark Rising said he also has concerns about the possible gas station and wants to learn more about what is proposed.

"Eola is a highly traveled road for school buses," Rising said. "It's gotten very congested."

Speedway has told the city it plans to build the convenience store and 10 fueling islands on the northeast corner of the site -- closest to the roads -- and develop a "creative buffer area" between the homes to its west and south.

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