Planners approve medical supply store

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comNovember 15, 2012 

The Planning Commission allowed a medical facility project and delayed construction of additional signs at a gas station.

Commissioners on Wednesday revisited a zoning change request to allow a medical equipment store at 310 W. I St. The project was first heard Oct. 24, but Community Development Director Paula Fitzgerald prepared a staff report indicating Apex Medical Group wanted to convert a vacant home into a lab when the project was for Debbie Perry, an Apex employee who wants to convert it into a medical equipment store.

At that time, commissioners questioned how deliveries would be handled and voiced concerns about traffic and placement of garbage receptacles.

Wednesday, commissioners reviewed a site plan showing the 6,800-square-foot lot with a 1,135-square-foot building. Project architect Joseph Smith said most deliveries would go directly to a client's home and parking at the facility would allow drivers easy access from the parking lot to the street. He also said garbage would be stored away from public view.

Dick Gerbi, who owns property nearby, voiced concerns he had the first time the medical equipment store was reviewed.

"I have (a concern) that if my building burned down, I'd have to build a commercial building there. I don't know if I want any more commercial building. We have commercial buildings all over town."

Commissioner Tom Mello had another concern.

"There's a lot of vacant places in Los Banos, but we can't tell people to go rent them. We just have to make sure we do what's right for the public," Mello said.

The commission voted 6-1 to OK the rezoning, with Tracey Rosin dissenting.

"My issue is not with Debbie Perry or the project," she said. "My issue is with changing the zoning. I just didn't feel like it was an appropriate move for the city or something that was being done in a managed way."

Also, commissioners continued a hearing requesting additional signs at the Valero gas station on Pacheco Boulevard and Eleventh Street. The station uses the sign from the gas station that was there previously.

The sign does not have adequate space to post cash and credit gas prices, which causes Valero to be out of compliance with rules set by Merced County Weights and Measures. Valero proposed a ground-level sign, which the commission rejected because of aesthetics.

"I hope at some point that we begin to clean up these signs and make our boulevard look pleasant and beautiful to the public," Commissioner Deborah Lewis said. "When I pass by I see an extra sign sitting on the ground and they're asking for another sign. That's three signs where all the other gas stations have one. I would hope that Valero could do some adjustments instead of cluttering up the ground."

The commission asked Valero to return with a different proposal.

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