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Keeping gas stations out????


How to keep a gas station out of town??

I am working on a special exception case related to a gas station. They want to come in and we have very little to keep them out as our considerations for special exception approval/denial are very weak. As we have no arch. guidelines, I feel we are stuck. Does anyone have any insight? Additionally, what sorts of needs assessments have communities done when analyzing their need or lack of for convenience/gas stations?
Thank You!!!


The only time I have ever denied a gas station it was on due to groundwater concerns (it was locating in a one year zone of influence for a municipal well). Although your architectural standards may be weak, is there anything in your environmental standards?


Dear Leader
Staff member
I talk about proliferation of vehicle-related uses in one of my older threads. We've got very strict architectural and site planning standards, but because we're next door to another town with demographics that are overwhelmingly working class, most commercial land use inquiries have been for vehicle-related uses.

We've got a moratorium on such uses in place now, and we'll be adopting a linear frontage and area cap for such uses in town.

Ordinance 2002-03


WHEREAS, the “blank slate” of commercial and industrial zoned property along West Colonial Drive provides the unique opportunity to create a vibrant, well-planned and aesthetically pleasing commercial district that preserves and enhances the Town’s unique small town character, sense of place and reputation, while avoiding a homogeneous commercial development pattern that has blighted other communities; and

WHEREAS, the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code permit and encourage a wide range of commercial and retail services along West Colonial Drive; to serve the day-to-day needs of Oakland residents; and

WHEREAS, property that is not serviced by infrastructure that can support a full range of commercial uses, including those that generate more wastewater than what can adequately be handled by an on-site septic system, is considered undesirable by many prospective developers and businesses; and

WHEREAS, the lack of a central sewer system precludes the establishment of commercial uses that are seen as necessary and desirable among ******* residents, including quality full service restaurants, cafes, grocery stores, offices, and medical services; and

WHEREAS, commercial zoned land that is not served by a central sewer system can only support uses that generate very little waste water; and

WHEREAS, the vast majority of inquiries and formal requests regarding development along West Colonial Drive in ******** have been for uses where the primary function is the sales, rental, fueling, servicing, repair, storage, cleaning and modification of automobiles, trucks, motorcycles and boats, and the sales of parts and accessories for such items; all uses that generate very little waste water; and

WHEREAS, vehicle related uses tend to agglomerate and form clusters dominated by such uses; and

WHEREAS, the commercial strip along West Colonial Drive outside of *******, dominated by low-end commercial and borderline industrial uses and including a disproportionately large amount of vehicle related uses, does not meet the day-to-day needs of area residents, and is seen as an undesirable model for future development in *******; and

WHEREAS, the potential concentration of vehicle related uses in ******* would:
1. be detrimental to the unique small town character, sense of place and reputation of *******, and thus threaten the health, safety and general welfare of the community; and
2. be contrary to the goals and objectives of the Comprehensive Plan; and
3. have a disproportionately large impact on the Town, considering the Town's small size and geographic constraints, compared to a larger community with few geographic limitations for expansion, and a large supply of land ideal for
commercial development; and
4. be a deterrent to prospective residents, and to other commercial uses seen as necessary and desirable; and
5. preclude the establishment of a vibrant commercial district with a broad range of commercial and retail uses; and
6. perpetuate a commercial environment that does not serve the day-to-day needs of ******* residents

WHEREAS, the Planning and Zoning Board and the Town Commission, as stewards of *******'s unique built environment, wish to preserve and enhance the special character and lifestyle that exists in the Town; and

WHEREAS, adopting a temporary moratorium on development requests for vehicle related uses in the “Highway 50 Activity Corridor” will create a more stable environment during the moratorium period so that consideration of infrastructure improvements and revisions to Town policy, the Comprehensive Plan and/or the Zoning Ordinance can be formulated, considered and adopted in an orderly and thorough manner.


SECTION 1. MORATORIUM. For 180 days after the date of adoption of this ordinance, there is a moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications for all future land use map amendments, zoning map amendments, site plan review requests, and special exception requests where a proposed use includes the sales, rental, fueling, servicing, repair, storage, washing, cleaning, equipping and modification of automobiles, trucks, golf carts, motorcycles, all terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles, campers, boats, personal watercraft, heavy construction equipment, and other self-propelled vehicles; equipment towed or pulled by such vehicles, and the sales of parts and accessories for such vehicles; in the area defined as the “Highway 50 Activity Corridor” in the Gateway Corridor Ordinance.

SECTION 2. APPLICABILITY/PENDING LEGISLATION DOCTRINE. A “pending legislation doctrine” applies to all applications types noted in Section 1 submitted before 8 January 2002. The pending legislation doctrine precludes further consideration of applications submitted after 8 January 2002, the date the principles of this ordinance were first considered by the Town Commission. Applications submitted for pre-application or formal review and approval before 8 January 2002 will continue to be reviewed and processed, and may be considered by the Planning and Zoning Board and Town Commission.

SECTION 3. CONSIDERATION OF INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS. The Town Commission, Planning and Zoning Board, Town Planner and Town Manager will study and make a recommendation regarding the viability of a wastewater disposal system that can accommodate a diverse range of commercial uses.

SECTION 4. CONSIDERATION OF REVISED LAND USE REGULATIONS. The Town Commission, Planning and Zoning Board, Town Planner and Town Manager will study and consider appropriate land use regulations that ensure the establishment of a diverse and well-planned commercial and retail environment along West Colonial Drive.

SECTION 5. CONSIDERATION OF DEVELOPMENT POLICY. The Town Commission, Planning and Zoning Board, Town Planner and Town Manager will study and consider an appropriate development policy to encourage the location of commercial uses that are seen as necessary and desirable in the Town, in a manner that is not detrimental to the unique small town character, sense of place, reputation and desirability of *******.

SECTION 6. EXTENSION OF MORATORIUM. The Town Commission may extend this moratorium by a majority vote of the Commission for an additional period if necessary to complete consideration of infrastructure improvements, revised land use regulations and development policy.

SECTION 7. SEVERABILITY. If any part of this ordinance is held unconstitutional or invalid, the invalidity will not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance.

SECTION 8. This ordinance is effective upon becoming law.


Dear Leader
Staff member
The following is from the land use code I'm writing for my employers. This section on gas station design is in addition to architectural, landscaping and site design regulations that apply to all commercial uses.

412.3 Gas/service stations and co-branded uses

412.3.1 Architecture
* Separate structures (main building, car wash canopy, etc.) on the site must share architectural detail and design elements to provide a cohesive project site.
* The main building must not be prefabricated; prefabricated accessory buildings must be substantially modified and embellished to be consistent with the overall architectural theme.
* Vending machines and other site accessories must be integrated into the architectural theme of the site.
* Vehicle service areas and bays must be screened or sited so visibility from the street is as low as possible. Bay doors must not face the street or be visible from residential zoning districts. Bay doors must integrate into the overall design of the site with color, texture, and windows.
* Co-branded uses such as restaurants and convenience stores must be well integrated into the main building. Disharmonious architectural elements to emphasize the presence or corporate identity of a co-branded use, such as incorporation of a different façade or different roof pitch or profile than the rest of the main building, are prohibited.
* Canopies must include design elements found on the main building, including color, materials and roof pitch.
* Canopy support poles must include decorative corbels consistent with the overall architectural theme of the site, or pole covers ≥18” (.5 m) wide with a similar surface material and architectural treatments as the dominant masonry material on the main structure.
* Canopy fascias must be the same color as the dominant color of the main building. Striping and banding on canopies is prohibited.

412.3.2 Site planning
* Canopies must be placed behind the façade and street facing walls of the main building, so they are not the dominant feature on the site, and do not act as signs or attention-getting devices.
* Canopy footprints may cover 15% or less of the site.
* Tank vent pipes must be screened, placed in an inconspicuous location and painted a dark color, or included into the building architecture. Tank vent pipes must not be placed outside of the required building envelope.

412.3.3 Parking, circulation and stacking
* On-site circulation must include adequate space to maneuver vehicles around cars parked and stacked at pumps, with special attention to circulation of vehicles not involved in fuel purchases.
* Unrelieved pavement area on the site must be limited by using landscaping, contrasting colors and banding or pathways of brick pavers, textured concrete or similar treatment.
* Points of vehicle/pedestrian conflict must be clearly defined with textured and colored pavement or brick pavers.
* Large expanses of concrete or asphalt must be avoided.

412.3.4 Landscaping
Projects placed at street corners must provide some structural or strong design element to anchor the corner. This can be accomplished using a built element or strong landscaping features.

412.3.5 Fencing and screening
* Large trash containers, outdoor storage areas and vending machine areas must be fully screened.
* Vehicles under repair must be kept either inside a structure or in an area fully screened from the right-of-way and adjacent properties.
* Screen walls, trash enclosures and other service spaces must be constructed of materials and finishes consistent with the main building.

412.3.6 Signs
* Variances and waivers will not be issued for sign height, number and/or size, regardless of corporate standards or preferences, perceived need for visibility, and/or proximity to major highways.
* Signage ≤24’2 (2.2 m2) in area may be placed on each canopy side; with no signs permitted under a canopy except what is permitted by the “excepted signs” provisions of the Land Development Code sign requirements.

412.3.7 Outdoor lighting
* Awnings and canopy fascias must not be internally illuminated.
* Canopy lighting must conform to Land Development Code outdoor lighting requirements regarding recessed placement, number, luminosity and source type (§410.7).


Dear Leader
Staff member
Linear frontage cap

304.9 Commercial diversity along West Colonial Drive

304.9.1 Intent
******* is increasingly perceived as an ideal location for mechanical commercial uses for several reasons.

* ******* contains a large portion of the last remaining vacant commercial zoned land along the West Colonial Drive (Florida State Road 50) corridor.
The West Colonial Drive exit from the Florida’s Turnpike makes the ******* area attractive for certain retail uses, such as vehicle dealerships, that tend to draw customers from throughout a wide trade area.
* Mechanical commercial uses typically generate little wastewater, so the lack of a sanitary sewer system in ******* does not render the Town “off limits” to them. The lack of sewer service lowers potential development costs for mechanical commercial uses, making an ******* location more attractive.
* The Town is adjacent to a much larger, blue-collar oriented community, which provides a large customer base for businesses related to vehicle service, construction and various mechanical trades. The majority of commercial uses along West Colonial Drive in the neighboring community contain mechanical commercial uses, and that “strip” is growing westward towards *******.
* The greatest concentration of vehicle dealerships and related businesses in West Orange County are located along West Colonial Drive about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of *******, in a socioeconomically transitional neighborhood with the perception of a high crime rate. Many of those vehicle dealerships may be considering relocation.

The Town Comprehensive Plan encourages the presence of a wide variety of commercial and retail businesses along the West Colonial Drive corridor. Mechanical commercial businesses tend to agglomerate, which can “typecast” an area as an “Auto Row,” discourage other types of businesses from considering a location there, and ultimately present a poor impression of the host municipality. The spread of mechanical commercial uses into *******, a geographically constrained small town, would deny it the opportunity to create a vibrant and diverse retail environment, hurt the Town’s reputation as a desirable community, and harm the distinctive character and sense of place that are integral parts of the Town.

304.9.2 Mechanical commercial use cap
The total linear frontage and land area of all parcels with the following uses must not exceed 25% of the total linear frontage and land area of all C-G and commercial PUD zoned parcels within 1000’ (305 m) of West Colonial Drive.
* Uses meeting the definition of a mechanical commercial use.
* Convenience stores and supermarkets with gas pumps
* Gas stations, including those with co-branded uses such as restaurants and convenience stores
* Large item sales and rental (Class 1, 2 and 3)
* Vehicle minor repair
* All businesses whose primary function is the sales, rental, servicing, repair, cleaning and modification of motorized vehicles and/or items powered by liquid and gas fuel and fuel cell powered engines; and the sales, service and installation of parts and accessories for such vehicles and items.

For such uses in shopping centers and similar facilities with multiple commercial tenants on one lot, where the area dedicated to the use is not clearly defined, the linear frontage and area of the use is calculated using these formulas:

Use linear frontage on street = linear frontage of use in building × (linear frontage of lot ⁄ linear frontage of building)

Use land area = gross floor area of use in building × (area of lot ⁄ gross floor area of building)

Example: 200’ wide building on parcel with 300’ of linear frontage on West Colonial Drive
100’ used for auto parts sales
100 × (300 / 200) = 150’

Joe Iliff

Reformed City Planner
What's the SE for?

What is the special exception for? Just to have a gas station, or to have a certain number of pumps? Are there other concerns about the gas station, like lighting?

My city has a zoning district where 2 MPD's are allowed by right and more are allowed with a Specific Use Permit (like a special exception) by City Council. These cases frequently bring up lots of questions. Most places want at least 6 MPD's but most neighbors usually want 0, or not more than 2. A couple of times, Council has granted permission for 4.

If you don't have specific criteria for allowing them or not, I'd say you're stuck. You may have more ability to influence the design if special exceptions are considered discretionary items.

Good Luck.


We've dealt with gas stations by making them a conditional use. The same is true for any use with a drive-through. The architectural standards we adopted are typical - setbacks, landscaping standards, lighting, pedestrian accessibility, colors, etc. The real asset is the conditional use, though. If you want it permitted, you had better have a very good submittal.

We would normally consider proximity to residential uses, traffic and other safety concerns in granting the use. As for whether we would consider need/lack of need for the service, that really does not figure into most decisions. I would say that the community feels it is not its place, but rather the business' role to determine if it wants to accept the risk of opening.