The Ridgefield City Council has voted unanimously to make changes to its development code, one of which puts a stop to a potential gas station coming in at the corner of Hillhurst and Sevier roads.
The council voted to make the change during its Oct. 10 meeting. The action changes gas stations in Commercial Neighborhood Business (CNB) zoned land from permitted to not permitted.
In an interview with The Reflector following the vote, Ridgefield Mayor Don Stose said that it was community feedback that led to the decision.
“We had an overwhelming response from the citizens of Ridgefield that they did not want neighborhood fueling stations,” Stose said. “This council wanted to send a message to those constituents that we heard them loud and clear and we wanted to make changes as fast as we could legally do that.”
Stose mentioned a community forum in August with more than 100 in attendance where no one testified in favor of the gas station. In July, the city council had put a six-month temporary moratorium on fuel station projects in CNB zones, hosting a public hearing also in August where those who testified were against the development.
The code change was spurred on by the Hillhurst and Sevier development, which didn’t always include a gas station. In 2016, a site plan application was submitted and eventually approved that featured three buildings on the property — two as retail or restaurant spaces and another with ground-floor retail and second-floor office space, according to a staff report.
In June 2019, a new applicant contacted the city looking to have one of the originally-proposed buildings become a gas station, according to the staff report, and through the pre-application process the city council became aware of the development. The council expressed concerns that a gas station “might not be compatible with the vision and intent” of the CNB zoning, the staff report read.
Stose said that the developer has dropped pursuing a gas station on the site given it can’t put one in due to the new code.
“I believe it was a wake-up call for the property owner,” Stose said, adding that the developer is planning to go ahead with building what was initially permitted in 2016. As of his interview with The Reflector, the mayor said he wasn’t aware of any specific businesses lined up for the buildings.