Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Gas station/fast food impacts

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Sep 2008
    Location
    County government
    Posts
    16

    Gas station/fast food impacts

    I am presently working on a master plan for a suburban area in Colorado. I am considering differing intensities of commercial uses. One that has been the topic of quite a bit of discussion is gas stations and fast food restaurants - namely, should they or shouldn’t they be allowed in smaller commercial (sometimes adjacent to residential) developments?

    I would like to know some of your experiences with the negative impacts associated with these developments, and some of the rationale as to why they have been prohibited in certain areas.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,953
    These are a type of business that can be successful in such locations. Most people do not object to the convenience store function, as they would like to have a nearby place to pick up a gallon of milk, newspaper, etc. It is the gas dispensing function that they find undesirable for traffic, lighting, noise, odors, and appearance. For a gas station to also have a fast food restaurant attached will usually require it to be located on a busy road or near a large employment center. You will not often find them in a location where only an acre or two at the corner of two collector streets is zoned commercial. Their major impact is only to exacerbate the concerns I noted above.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northern Utah
    Posts
    3,914
    Right on, and an absolutely typical problem of commercial development in the suburban west. Require good site planning because of the concerns that Cardinal outlined. You complete that list (Gas Stations, Fast Food) with grocery, medical and dental offices, small professional offices, daycares etc. and you have the only businesses that want to be located right next to the rooftops.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,453
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    These are a type of business that can be successful in such locations. Most people do not object to the convenience store function, as they would like to have a nearby place to pick up a gallon of milk, newspaper, etc. It is the gas dispensing function that they find undesirable for traffic, lighting, noise, odors, and appearance. For a gas station to also have a fast food restaurant attached will usually require it to be located on a busy road or near a large employment center. You will not often find them in a location where only an acre or two at the corner of two collector streets is zoned commercial. Their major impact is only to exacerbate the concerns I noted above.
    Yes, exactly, esp IME the light pollution from gas stations. Ensure that they don't do a, say, Tesoro-type and spill light all over the place. Rather, they need to shield their lights. Several ordinances around here that do a good job at light pollution. Also you want to look at monument signs for such a development. As far as fast-food goes, I don't eat at them so can't offer much there.

    Congrats, BTW, on having an actual master plan to work on up there.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404
    On the gas stations, you may want to consider minimum separation distances from one another (1/2 to 1 mile?) if these smaller commercial areas are all the same zoning. Having multiple gas stations in a small geographical and non-intense commercial area may not be preferred. The other interesting aspect in this regard is the consolidation of gas station companies resulting in multiple gas stations of the same brand literally across the street from one another, which a separation requirement might help head-off.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,953
    Quote Originally posted by UrbaneSprawler View post
    On the gas stations, you may want to consider minimum separation distances from one another (1/2 to 1 mile?) if these smaller commercial areas are all the same zoning. Having multiple gas stations in a small geographical and non-intense commercial area may not be preferred. The other interesting aspect in this regard is the consolidation of gas station companies resulting in multiple gas stations of the same brand literally across the street from one another, which a separation requirement might help head-off.
    I don't see this as a problem. Often, those gas stations compete with each other resulting in lower prices. Besides, would you prefer to have a few locations where gas stations (and their impacts) are concentrated, or several locations where more residents are impacted?

    As for the same brand being across from each other, there is often a good reason for that. In busy traffic, people do not want to make a left turn, and face it, we would prefer that as well. If demand is strong enough, companies will build across from an existing location to capture traffic in both directions.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    In the real world however gas stations seem to aglomerate at high traffic corners in similar fashion to chain drug strores. A planning commission would have a hard time making a regular spacing rule stick as there are lots of like businesses that aglomerate.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,453
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    In the real world however gas stations seem to a[g]glomerate at high traffic corners in similar fashion to chain drug strores. A planning commission would have a hard time making a regular spacing rule stick as there are lots of like businesses that a[g]glomerate.
    Indeed. It is likely best for traffic to have them on corners on the perimeter of the development, abutting the main arterial.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404
    Our code has a 3/4 mile spacing requirement between fueling facilities in a zone that would seem to be similar to what the original poster had described, more residential in type, smaller commercial.

    Certainly a spacing requirement in a true commercial zone would be unusual and probably not go over well with the business community. We typically have gas stations on multiple corners of arterial intersections (in commercial zones) like most other communities.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    I don't see this as a problem. Often, those gas stations compete with each other resulting in lower prices. Besides, would you prefer to have a few locations where gas stations (and their impacts) are concentrated, or several locations where more residents are impacted?
    Our code really pushes for gas stations on arterial/arterial intersections in major commercial zones. Having multiple gas stations at the intersection of collector/collector streets in smaller neighborhood commercial zones probably didn't seem to make much sense to the planners here, and perhaps is why the 3/4 mile separation was adopted in these smaller zones.

    I suspect that most people in this country are willing to drive a mile or so out of their way to save 2 cents a gallon on gas and multiple gas stations at intersections doesn't drive down prices as much as it perhaps once did.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered
    Sep 2008
    Location
    County government
    Posts
    16

    BUT...

    I am certainly gaining some great ideas in regard to HOW to regulate gas stations and/or fast food, but what sort of negative impacts are associated with them (i.e. why or why not allow them in smaller commercial developments)?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian cng's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Greater Los Angeles
    Posts
    207
    Quote Originally posted by jenalan View post
    I am certainly gaining some great ideas in regard to HOW to regulate gas stations and/or fast food, but what sort of negative impacts are associated with them (i.e. why or why not allow them in smaller commercial developments)?
    The impacts include traffic, internal site circulation, aesthetics, noise and odor. If there's an alcohol use tied to a mini-mart, there may be other impacts associated with the regulation of that alcohol use. But, it mostly depends on the context. I discourage gas stations at main street type environments. An appropriate context might be a gas station on a 5-acre site with a drug store on a corner adjacent to collector streets. But again, it may depend on what you're trying to achieve for that specific neighborhood.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,453
    Quote Originally posted by cng View post
    The impacts include traffic, internal site circulation, aesthetics, noise and odor. If there's an alcohol use tied to a mini-mart, there may be other impacts associated with the regulation of that alcohol use. But, it mostly depends on the context. I discourage gas stations at main street type environments. An appropriate context might be a gas station on a 5-acre site with a drug store on a corner adjacent to collector streets. But again, it may depend on what you're trying to achieve for that specific neighborhood.
    I see the important impacts as traffic spillovers, light pollution, aesthetics, noise pollution, odor.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,956
    This all has to be taken within the context of your community. In my small towns, I eliminated the small commercial districts, How far should one have to drive to a gas station? If you are within 1/2 mile of a highway district, I think it should be on that highway. Convience stores? Does that add to walkability, or merely make it easy for one to drive to the gas station? When my son lived in a high growth area with multi-family stuff for a quarter mile in all directions, a convenience store and a fast food at the closest corner of an arterial and collecter made sense as a consumer. In my small slow growth towns it is better to keep it to arterial-arterial intersections (OK, perhaps arterial-major collector intersections. But it better be a true major collector.) I am one and 1/2 blocks from a convenience store...I find that I drive more than walk.

    Where you have small commercial distircts, do they promote walkability; or do they exist out of expediency?

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Fast Food Advertising
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 24
    Last post: 27 Aug 2011, 10:59 PM
  2. Who has the best fast food?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 54
    Last post: 11 Aug 2007, 11:56 PM
  3. Replies: 6
    Last post: 19 Apr 2006, 12:41 AM
  4. Fast Food Mis-orders
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 06 Feb 2005, 6:14 PM
  5. Fast Food Cliches
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 25
    Last post: 12 Nov 2004, 10:46 AM