Lexington Planning Commission rejects request for gas station at Chinoe Kroger

Lexington's Planning Commission on Thursday turned down Kroger's request for a 10-pump fueling station with a canopy and small kiosk in Chinoe Village shopping center.

A group of vocal neighbors said tankers hauling fuel would create traffic problems, gasoline fumes would be a health hazard, and a gas station would mar the aesthetics of the area.

Homeowner Jennie Willson, who lives across the street from the shopping center, cited several studies indicating the carcinogenic effects of benzene vapors, which are in gasoline and are emitted in automobile exhaust fumes.

Bruce Thomas, another Chinoe resident, protested the light pollution that would result.

The commission voted 6-2 against the proposal. Commission member Mike Cravens said he did not think there was enough room for a gas station in the Chinoe Village parking lot. Frank Penn, another member, said of the development plan, "I don't think this passes the smell test."

Kroger presented its initial plan in December. Representatives asked for a continuance to have a traffic study done.

On Thursday, traffic engineer Diane Zimmerman said the shopping center draws 139 cars during peak hours. A gas station would not increase that traffic significantly, she said.

Kroger modified its design in response to neighbors' concerns. A landscaping barrier along Creekwood Drive was widened, a retaining wall was raised, the canopy was lowered and less obtrusive lights were specified.

Many shopping centers near residential areas have gas stations, said attorney Rena Wiseman, representing Kroger. "I don't think anyone would tell you their quality of life has deteriorated because of a fueling station nearby," she said.

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