The City Council this week passed an urgency ordinance imposing a moratorium on construction of mini-markets in the face of a neighborhood protest over plans by Texaco Inc. to convert a closed gas station on the eastern edge of the city into a self-service station and mini-mart.
The ordinance, which took effect immediately, will last for 45 days, giving the council time to analyze the impact on nearby residential neighborhoods of mini-marts and gas station concessions selling sundry items and to determine if they should be allowed.
The ordinance came at the urging of residents near the proposed Texaco mini-mart at Caddington Drive and Western Avenue. Residents concerned about loitering, litter, liquor sales and crime have filed a 500-signature petition with the city demanding that building permits for the mini-mart be denied.
Under the city code, new mini-marts are controlled by conditional-use permits. However, if they are located in existing commercial buildings and require an expansion of less than 500 square feet, they need only standard building permits. During the moratorium the council also will determine if the conditional-use procedure is an effective way to regulate mini-marts.
No one from Texaco spoke at the council session.