Sacramento City Council should reject 16-pump station in Curtis Park Village

The Sacramento City Council should deny a permit for a 16-pump gas station at the new Curtis Park Village development.

The council is scheduled to vote on a conditional use permit Tuesday night.

The Sacramento Bee’s Editorial Board supports most infill projects, including this one, and doesn’t believe the council should make a practice of overturning its Planning and Design Commission, which approved the gas station by an 8-3 vote in June.

But in this instance, we side with the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association, which represents residents in adjacent Curtis Park and strongly opposes the gas station. A 16-pump station would fly in the face of the community’s aesthetics and overall values.

The council in 2012 approved the 72-acre Curtis Park Village, including more than 500 homes and nearly 12 acres of commercial space.

Developer Paul Petrovich sold the council and nearby residents on the project in part by promising to develop an upscale commercial area. He since has sought to include the 16-pump gas station as part of his effort to attract Safeway as the anchor tenant.

Safeway executives have warned that they will not locate a grocery store there without the gas station, and that their business model relies on a customer loyalty program associated with the fuel center.

In our view, a decision by the supermarket chain to pull out of the project over a gas station would be shortsighted. Safeway is a good neighbor. Being a good neighbor entails taking into account the concerns of others.

As neighborhood association representatives and others say, a gas station of this size would add to traffic and noise and be fundamentally inconsistent with the notion that Curtis Park Village would be transit-oriented.

“A fueling center this size will not encourage transit use in this neighborhood, but will attract auto use,” Regional Transit general manager Mike Wiley said at the Planning and Design Commission meeting in June.

Petrovich has claimed that if Safeway pulls out, he will have little choice but to bring in a discount grocer, a check-cashing store and fast-food joints to the shopping center. That, too, seems shortsighted, given that Curtis Park Village houses are selling for $600,000 or more near the commercial area.

We don’t presume to know Petrovich’s financial situation. But we know heavy-handed tactics when we see them. The council should not roll over to threats, but rather should side with the Curtis Park Village neighborhood.

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