Gripes fuel feud at gas station
July 13, 2007
The large red sign near Interstate 80 in Silver Creek that is maligned by many Parkites could come down when the Sinclair gas station is remodeled.
The business, however, is the site of a feud between neighbors, who say the service station is already an eyesore and business owners trying to generate profits.
"This place is a mess," Silver Creek resident Charmian Wright said during a site visit with developers and the Summit County Commission at Silver Creek Junction on Wednesday. "These guys don’t take care of their property. This place is disgusting."
"These guys," are members of the Bell family, who own the Silver Creek station and several other service stations in Summit County, including the Jeremy Store.
Because the gas station opened in 1979 before strict zoning rules were enacted in western Summit County, the business is exempt from having to comply with the Snyderville Basin Development Code until landowners wish to expand buildings on the property.
David Bell, who owns the convenience store, wants to expand the size of the building by about a third, Summit County Principal Planner Jay Aguilar explained.
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"We’re trying to [come into compliance] in a way that doesn’t put us out of business," Bell said.
As part of the project, the Utah Department of Transportation might agree to install a new I-80 rest stop in Silver Creek, he added.
"They’re trying to do these public/private partnerships," Aguilar said about state transportation officials.
But that worries neighbors who claim that loitering vagrants might threaten children at a nearby school-bus stop.
"It’s terrible," Silver Creek resident Betsy Avila said. "We have transient people that walk over here all the time."
UDOT will not reopen a rest stop the department closed near Silver Creek several years ago, Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer said.
"That’s off the table," he said.
Meanwhile, "the big red sign would go away," Richer said about a billboard visible from the freeway the shows the price of diesel fuel at the Silver Creek truck stop.
But the proposed new signs don’t comply with the Basin Development Code, he added.
Neighbors were perhaps most concerned about a 70-foot tall sign proposed at the front of the business.
"The 70 feet is because more signs would be on the pole, instead of other signs spread throughout the lot," David Bell said, adding that a new monument sign is planned at the station. "In our signage, we’re dropping out a little more than a fourth of the signage that exists right now."
The proposal would reduce the size of signs at the gas station from about 2,000 to 1,500 square-feet.
But more traffic is also a concern.
"Have any studies been done as to the additional use [Silver Creek Road] is going to get?" asked Silver Creek resident Dan Coberly about the only way in or out of the neighborhood.
According to Silver Creek resident Betsy Avila, "in the wintertime [Silver Creek Road] is brutal."
"It’s just a really bad idea to put more traffic in this area," Silver Creek resident Gordon Wright concurred.
Members of the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission recommended the expansion plan be rejected by the Summit County Commission, which has yet to decide on the matter.
County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme says he supports the proposal.
"It’s a project that I think needs to go," Woolstenhulme said. "I think we need to make up our mind. Do we want it or don’t we want it?"