Iowa C-Stores Face Added Scrutiny

Des Moines City Council is considering new guidelines that would call for public hearings and increased scrutiny on construction plans and alternations for new convenience stores and gas stations in the city, c-store industry leaders in that city said.

“It’s all fine and it’s a standard practice, but the problem is the language is left wide open for the planning and zoning committee’s discretion as to what they feel is necessary or what the requirements are,” said Jeff Hove, regulatory affairs manager at Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa.

“That’s kind of what’s hitting home right now,” Hove said. “(Des Moines city officials) are giving themselves the authority to reject site plans. This language is not going out to all industries – it’s simply convenience stores."

The plan to amend the city’s ordinance was suggested by the Des Moines Planning and Zoning Committee, which Hove said is asking for stricter requirements on convenience store site plans and alteration plans, such as site design, architecture, landscaping and lighting.

The Des Moines Register said the amendment, which would require public hearings on any c-store construction plans, was “championed by neighborhood leaders and opposed by the convenience store industry.”

Proponents say the extra steps are needed to ensure large convenience stores don’t overburden neighborhoods, the newspaper reported.

Hove’s organization and a number of Des Moines-area convenience stores like QuikTrip, Kum & Go, Hy-Vee and Git-N-Go are opposing the proposed changes, the report said.

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