LOS BANOS — A plan by Circle K Stores to relocate to the northeast corner of Mercey Springs Road and Overland Avenue inched forward Wednesday.
The City Council voted unanimously to postpone final approval until Oct. 16 pending a number of conditions that Circle K must meet. .
The conditions include raising a masonry wall by 2 feet inside the Circle K property line, so it extends from 6 feet to 8 feet high, and to maintain both sides with vines to help prevent graffiti. Circle K also needs to have one sign that lists both cash and credit gas prices.
Circle K is at the northwest corner of Mercey Springs Road and Overland Avenue, at 403 N. Mercey Springs Road, on less than half an acre. It consists of four fuel pumps and a convenience store. Relocating to a bigger lot across the street would allow a 4,500-square-foot “prototype” store with an eight-pump fuel station with canopy and a self-serve car wash.
The Rev. Phil Jenkins, on behalf of New Canaan Missionary Baptist Church, appealed the Planning Commission decision in August that recommended the project move forward.
He said having Circle K adjacent to the church would result in traffic, noise and have other environmental impacts to the property and the vicinity. At Wednesday’s council meeting, Jenkins and several members of the church reiterated their concerns against the move.
“We are not coming before you to try and stop or hinder the growth of Los Banos, but our position here tonight is to come before you to ask that you take a good look at our concerns when it comes to the Circle K moving across the street next to us,” Jenkins said.
Some concerns he pointed out included the sale of alcohol near the church, gang and graffiti issues, noise from the car wash, fog and traffic and safety.
The church wants to expand to include a preschool daycare, activity room and multipurpose classroom. The church has 150 members. Jenkins said expansion would allow for growth.
“We are asking that you totally look at the situation as far as our worship facility,” Jenkins said.
Safety is a huge concern for Circle K.
The current Circle K has six cameras. The new location will have 16 to 17 cameras and will be better lit, according to store representatives. The proposed project will also have more windows across the front, and the position of the sales counter will allow for even more safety, they said.
In a separate motion, council in a 4-1 vote, indicated its intent to approve the alcohol license. Councilwoman Deborah Lewis voted against it, stating that she is not against the business but has concerns about the sale of alcohol next to the church.
Under the general use permit criteria, it states that the proposal will not adversely affect adjacent or nearby churches, temples, or synagogues etc.
“I’m hearing the adverse affect,” Lewis said. “But I still have to evaluate it for the sake of the community.”
Reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209)826-3831 ext. 6562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.