City hears pros, cons of proposed Casey’s station

City hears pros, cons of proposed Casey's station by David Lias The Vermillion City Council heard over an hour of testimony Monday to a request by Casey�s to change the zoning of a lot at the corner of Cherry and Dakota Streets from R-2 (residential) to B-1 (business).

The council took no action, opting to research the issue and make a decision May 1.

If the council approves Casey�s plans, a new convenience store/gas station would be located south of a station already operating on Cherry Street. It would stand west of the E.O. Lawrence Communications Center on The University of South Dakota campus.

It would be constructed on a lot owned by Jeanette Stone that is occupied by a house that she rents to USD students.

�I�ve owned the land for about 10 years, and been approached a number of times over the years by people wanting to put commercial enterprises there, but I�ve chosen to hold on to it as a rental property,� Stone told the city council. �I just feel that it is time (to sell). Casey�s has given me a purchase agreement, and I have been talking with them for well over a year now.�

Stone said she didn�t believe locating a Casey�s at the intersection would cause traffic problems.

She added that she knows that Kolly Fostvedt, who owns rental property next to her lot, isn�t happy with the prospect of a service station at the corner.

�He is afraid he will not get quality tenants and is afraid of what it will do to his property value,� she said.

But, Stone said, Fostvedt is an excellent landlord who keeps his property in excellent condition. She feels he wouldn�t have problems finding quality tenants should Casey�s build a service station next door.

Craig Thompson, a Vermillion attorney representing Fostvedt, told council members that the issue wasn�t being presented to the city properly.

City ordinances, he said, state that there are three ways to change zoning in the city.

�One is by the city council�s own initiative, and from my understanding this is not done pursuant to your own initiative. Two is by recommendation of the city planning commission which I understand refused to adopt this measure,� Thompson said.

A third way to change zoning is by petition. City ordinance requires that 50 percent of the owners of the area of the lot of any district desiring any change file such a petition.

The petition filed with the city, however, only contains Stone�s name, Thompson said.

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