Guilderoy Sprauve of Jixter LLC requested a zoning variance in order to construct a six-pump automated gas station and convenience store at his Estate Adrian property, like the rendering above.
Unlike plans for a proposed gas station atop Jacob’s Ladder, Guilderoy Sprauve’s public hearing for a zoning variance request on Tuesday evening, December 14, in order to build an automated service station on his Estate Adrian property didn’t draw any opposition.
While only two residents — out of the three who attended the hearing — spoke during the meeting, both were in favor of the project.
“I live about 300 feet up the road and I think it’s a great project,” said Brian Smith said. “I usually feel so upset about where St. John is today with just one gas station. I want to hear about how we can assist this guy to pull this project off.”
“We need more than one gas station,” said Smith.
Julia Sommersall, who also lives nearby, gave her thumbs-up to the project as well.
“They asked me my concerns about this project and they were very sensitive to my feelings,” said Sommersall. “Mr. Sprauve was very informative and told me about this meeting. He seems reasonable and I think the project is workable.”
Sprauve presented his plans for a six pump automated service station and convenience store at Parcel No. 17 J-1 Estate Adrian during a Department of Planning and Natural Resources zoning variance request public hearing at St. Ursula’s Multi-purpose Center.
The parcel is currently zoned R-1 (residential low density) which does not allow for a gas station. Sprauve is requesting a variance in order to construct a six-pump automated gas station and convenience store on the roughly 20,000-square foot plot. Sprauve’s entire lot is six acres, but he is only planning to develop the 20,000-square foot parcel of the land.
The parcel is located on Centerline Road, adjacent to the Love City Home and Garden Center, on land previously used by the Seventh Day Adventist Church for evangelistic meetings. Other than a tent and temporary stage erected by the church, the property is empty.
The other side of the property is abutted by an empty lot, which is also owned by the Sprauve family, according to the developer. Much of the area is already home to industry, explained Sprauve, who owns Jixter LLC with his brother Gerren.
“Every other property in that area is an industrial operation,” Sprauve said.
When creating the project, Sprauve saw the need for a second gas station on St. John and thought the mid-island location of his property was ideal, he explained.
“The idea is to build a full-service gas station and convenience store,” said Sprauve. “Right now St. John is being serviced by one gas station. Our property is centrally located and we had been looking at a different parcel of our property.”
“After talking to residents in the area, however, we have decided that the 17 J-1 site is the ideal site for the project,” Sprauve said.
The project calls for a three tanks with two pumps on each side, five of which will disperse gasoline and one diesel fuel. The service station will be automated with customers able to use their debit or credit cards right at the pump. A cashier will be available for patrons using cash and together the businesses would employ about two to three people, explained Sprauve.
There will be two 25,000 gallon double wall gas tanks and a roughly 6,000 diesel tank — all above ground — on the property. A poured concrete convenience store with modern paneling and digital gas price signs, will also be located on the site, Sprauve explained.
The project will likely be enclosed in barbed wire fencing and will include several security cameras, Sprauve added.
“There will be an elaborate camera system with security cameras looking straight down on the pumps,” said the developer. “There will be fencing around the storage tanks and around the east side of the property so the land will be totally fenced in. I’ve also spoken to some security companies who will help with having someone stationed at the site during closing time.”
The land is located on a partially blind corner, according to Sprauve, who tweaked the project’s layout in order to make the entrance and exit as safe as possible.
“The issue of a blind corner came up and we went up to the site to do some analysis,” said the developer. “It is a blind corner to some extent. Usually you allocate 20 to 30 feet for a driveway, but we’re extending that to 60 feet to make it easier to drive in and out of the station.”
The parcel of land is about 80 feet wide and 200 feet long, presenting project designer Clarence Browne with the challenge of where to locate parking spaces for the convenience store, oil and water separators, sewage treatment facility and a generator and tank.
Responding to questions from DPNR’s Division of Environmental Protection terminal facility coordinator Kent Bernier Jr., Sprauve agreed to take a closer look at the exact logistics of the site as it pertains to traffic flow, storm water drainage, water storage and vapor recovery.
“DPNR is implementing new laws as far as vapor recovery covering both from the truck to the storage tank and from the pump to the vehicle,” said Bernier. “We’re going to make sure that all stations recover that vapor and have it pumped out. It’s good to see that you’re already started to put these requirements into your plan.”
Sprauve planned to have the station and store open from around 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The businesses would close around 5 p.m. on Friday and reopen in the evening on Saturday.
“We didn’t feel that St. John was busy enough to support a 24-hour operation,” said Sprauve.
If the zoning variance is approved, Sprauve said he could secure funding for the project within 60 days.
“We’ve already reached an agreement with a loaning institution and they’re just awaiting the variance,” said Sprauve.
If the okay comes through, the tanks could be installed three weeks of having the equipment on island, explained Paul Tollefson, president of Petroleum Equipment Sales and Installation, who will oversee that side of the project.
The overall project — including the convenience store and gas station canopy — could be complete within six months of approval, Sprauve explained.
The developer pledged to be transparent with the project and to work in concert with all DPNR regulations.
“We intend to work in tandem with all regulations and to be as transparent as possible with the community,” said Sprauve. “We want to get the public involved so they can feel a part of the project. We will build a project that St. John can be proud of.”
DPNR staff has 30 days to prepare a report supporting or opposing the variance request. DPNR officials will then present their report to members of the 29th Legislature, who will host its own public hearing on the measure and ultimately vote on amending the official district map of St. John.