SOLON– Solon, apparently, is large enough to support a second Casey’s.
At its regular meeting on Feb. 5, the City Council approved a site plan for a new Casey’s General Store to be located on Lot 98 of Fox Ridge, Part 4 off Highway One near the post office.
Approval had been delayed as developers prepared and presented a traffic study to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding a second entrance to the property on Highway 1, required to allow ingress and egress by semi-tractor trailers, according to a Casey’s spokesperson.
“It is the same lot we previously approved, but it went back to planning and zoning when there was access (to Highway 1) denied on behalf of the post office,” Mayor Cami Rasmussen said to open the discussion. She asked City Administrator Cassandra Lippincott to present the recommendations of the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission on the site plan to the council.
“The master site plan remains the same with the exception of the entrance on Highway 1,” said Lippincott. “The developers had to submit a traffic study to the DOT to get approval for the access. It’s gone through the DOT channels and they have made some slight revisions to the site plan based on their comments. P&Z approved the site plan as it was brought before them.”
Turning to Jo Anne Dyar, a real estate associate from Casey’s General Stores, Mayor Rasmussen asked, “what’s your timeline?”
“As soon as it can go,” said Dyar.
“Any decisions made on the existing building?” asked the mayor.
“We’re going to have two stores in town,” Dyar responded. “We are leaving that other one open.”
The council approved the site plan, 4-0.
“We’ll probably be buying this (property) real soon,” said Dyar. “We were kind of up against the eight ball. The seller was getting a little concerned with how long it was taking. But it couldn’t be helped.”
Dyar said after the meeting the second store was proposed because Solon is a growing community and Casey’s wanted to be part of it. “It’s great now that there will be another store to relieve some of the pressure on the current one, which is too small,” she said.
The council spent most of the meeting discussing the preliminary plat of Fox Ridge subdivision, Part 6, and a proposal to rezone Lot 1 of Fox Ridge subdivision, Part 6 from R-4 residential to R-3 residential. R-4 allows only zero-lot-line development, whereas R-3 is multi-family residential which allows developers more flexibility in site planning.
Mayor Rasmussen emphasized that no site plan has been presented by the developer to the council, and that the purpose of the meeting was public discussion in preparation for approval of the preliminary plat and rezoning items. A site plan would be developed after council approval.
Lippincott reported that P&Z had reviewed the two agenda items and unanimously approved the recommendations contingent upon a stipulation that the developer would not build 12-plexes on Lot 1. Developer Jeff Mekota indicated to P&Z he would not build 12-plexes, according to Lippincott. Mekota confirmed that at the council meeting.
Mekota discussed engineering changes to the developing plan that included additional water and sewer lines, utilities, easements, storm water runoff and erosion.
Two members of the public spoke about the preliminary plat and rezoning items. One asked if a map of the plans could be obtained. Rasmussen indicated one could be provided. The other person expressed her concerns about storm water runoff. City Engineer David Schechinger explained the issue and how it was accommodated in the preliminary plat.
The council deferred additional consideration of the items until the next meeting. “Until we get our house in order,” concluded City Attorney Jim Martinek.
In other business, Public Works Director Scott Kleppe reported snow removal after a major storm on Feb. 4 had required 46 hours and crews were not finished. He had ordered 50 tons of salt to meet remaining winter needs. He knocked on wood and said the city had not had any water main breaks or leaks thus far because of winter weather.
Solon Library Director Kris Brown reported the library would expand Tuesday hours to open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. without increasing staff or budget.
The council approved the renewal of liquor license applications for El Sol Mexican Cuisine and D & D Pizza; an event application for the Brett Smith Memorial 5k Fun Run/Walk on April 5; and purchase of a 2013 Ford F-150 XL truck as a replacement vehicle for the Department of Public Works.