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A Fareway grocery store and adjacent Kwik Star convenience store has been proposed at the southeast corner of South Main Street and Greenhill Road in the Pinnacle Prairie residential-commercial development.

CEDAR FALLS — Although it was approved two weeks ago, several citizens protested a new gas station in their Greenhill Road neighborhood again Monday night.

Residents of Cedar Falls living in the area of Greenhill Road and South Main Street, where a Kwik Star gas station and convenience store will be located next year, expressed their continued disappointment with the Cedar Falls City Council’s decision April 2 to approve it.

Calling the Kwik Star “a potential crime wave that attracts bad people,” resident Larry Wyckoff began the end-of-meeting public forum by accusing the council of being “yes men.”

“In spite of the rational arguments to stop this out-of-state business, a Kwik Star will be built right next to Fareway,” Wyckoff said. “It wouldn’t matter if we had collected thirty thousand signatures. ... This project was a clear desire by the headquarters of business at any price over the wishes of the citizens of Cedar Falls.”

Resident Ronald Flory said although city staff gave a dozen conditions to the Kwik Star about noise and tree lines, he didn’t feel they were adequate. Those 12 items include the height of trees buffering the business from homes, as well as the car wash hours and noise coming from overhead speakers and gas pump speakers.

Flory asked if the city could disallow Kwik Star from being opened 24 hours per day and reduce the number of gas pumps approved.

“Protect the city of Cedar Falls as a desirable place to live,” Flory pleaded. “Do not destroy its neighborhoods.”

Resident Rosemary Beach, who also attended the planning and zoning meeting April 11 and made similar comments to that board, reiterated that she felt the council’s invoking of “ex parte,” or only discussing issues related to land use in public meetings, was unfair.

“I’m sorry that is going to change for the people of Cedar Falls,” Beach said. “We have what we have, and I’m not happy with it, and I don’t think any of us are.”

Penny Popp, who has been the de facto head of the neighborhood’s resistance to the Kwik Star, was allowed extra time by the council to go over each item the council is asking of Kwik Star. She noted she has enlisted the help of state legislators in getting the state attorney general to take a look at the city’s use of ex parte.

“I had hoped the residents and their elected officials were on the same page,” Popp said. “But by the actions of the council on April 2, I now know we are not.”

Ward 3 council member Daryl Kruse asked city administrator Ron Gaines if the city had asked Kwik Star to reduce the number of gas pumps. Gaines said it had not.

Ward 2 council member Susan DeBuhr asked if the city had a legal right to limit Kwik Star’s hours of operation. City attorney Kevin Rogers said he didn’t believe it did.

“If Kwik Star doesn’t adhere to any of these 12 items, what happens?” asked Ward 5 council member Frank Darrah.

Gaines said Kwik Star will have to apply for a building permit, where the conditions would need to be met in the blueprints, as well as apply for a occupancy permit at the end of construction where the items would again be checked. Code enforcement could also fine Kwik Star if the items aren’t met after the fact, Gaines said.

Gaines noted Kwik Star is expected to begin building in 2019.


Multimedia Reporter

Multimedia Reporter at The Courier

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