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ENCINO : Opponents Decry ‘Yet Another Mini-Mart’

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A proposed carwash and mini-mart at a service station would increase an already unbearable traffic circulation problem, nearby residents said at a hearing Monday.

“We simply do not need yet another mini-mart for any reason, with all of its congestion and problems,” said Estheranne Billings, president of the Encino Park Improvement Committee, an association of residents who live across Burbank Boulevard from the proposed project.

The Houston-based Shell Oil Co. has proposed to add 311 square feet to its existing buildings--currently 1,008 square feet--to accommodate the carwash and mini-mart. The proposed project area is on the southeast corner of Burbank Boulevard and White Oak Avenue.

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Daniel Green, associate zoning administrator, delayed making a decision Monday, saying he needs to verify points brought up by both Shell Oil and opponents of the project.

But he noted that, a few years earlier, a zoning administrator approved the oil company’s request to build a larger food mart than the one currently proposed.

“If one of my colleagues approved a 1,000-square-foot convenience store before, I would be hard-pressed to explain why I turned down a 609-square-foot mini-mart,” Green said.

The food mart would be constructed in an existing service building, which would be enlarged to accommodate the market and the carwash.

Green agreed with Shell Oil officials about the traffic situation, saying the congestion was largely caused by other businesses in the area.

Adjacent or nearby stores include a specialty foods store, a liquor store and a dry-cleaning business.

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“They are being accused of causing a parking problem, although they are going to triple their parking,” Green said.

He added, however, that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation estimated that the proposed expansion would increase by 250 to 1,550 the number of daily trips generated by the service station.

Shell was required to go through the hearing process because it wants to increase the square footage of its buildings by 20% more than allowed under current zoning laws.

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