CEDAR FALLS — A neighborhood advocate has requested city officials provide all written communications pertaining to a proposed convenience store project that is now back up for reconsideration before the City Council.
Penny Popp, a resident of the El Dorado Heights neighborhood, has asked for all city communications related to deliberations on a site plan for a proposed Kwik Star convenience store east of the intersection of South Main Street and Greenhill Road. Her neighborhood is off South Main Street near the store site.
Popp said she made her request after the City Council voted 5-2 Monday night to bring the matter back up for discussion and re-vote at a future council meeting. Two weeks ago the council voted 4-3 to reject the proposal, while voting 6-1 to approve an adjacent Fareway grocery store. Both are in the Pinnacle Prairie development and both are permitted uses under the zoning for that district.
At least one of the council members who initially voted for the plan, Dave Wieland, said he supported reconsideration because he wanted to hear from Kwik Star on what attempts it has made to work with neighbors on lighting and another issues to make the store less intrusive to neighbors.
Popp says Kwik Star representatives had plenty of opportunity to do that at previous meetings and wonders why they are being given a second chance at approval now.
“Our main concern is, hear our voice and be our voice,” Popp asked of council members.
Residents are concerned about the development compounding traffic congestion and South Main and Greenhill — which will be the subject of an upcoming traffic study for possible improvements.
They’re also concerned about sign and noise pollution, potential crime from a store operation 24 hours a day and property devaluation. They also note there is another Kwik Star nearby on West Ridgeway Avenue at the south end of the Cedar Falls Industrial park and a Casey’s General Store further west on Greenhill Road.
Meanwhile, Popp also expressed some degree of frustration, as have some developers, about an inability to approach council members one on one outside a regular council meeting. For more than a decade, city legal counsel has advised any council members to refrain from such “ex parte” communications because they are functioning in a quasi-judicial capacity in reviewing such development requests.