Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cocoa Beach Board of Adjustment Continues Hearing On Race Trac Gas Station

COCOA BEACH, Fla. -- The City of Cocoa Beach Board of Adjustment has continued the hearing to February 15, 2012 on whether to permit Race Trac a variance to build a gas station on the northeast corner of  the intersection of St. Lucie Lane and Atlantic Avenue (State Road A1A).  
The Board determined that it needs more time to digest the information presented at hearing, and it also requested that City staff research some of the issues brought up during the hearing.
During tonight's hearing, the size of the request by Race Trac was reduced to from a 20 pump gas station to a 16 pump gas station.
Only two residents spoke in support of the proposed gas station, citing lower prices and the availability of a gas station on the right hand side for commuters heading northward.

The remaining residents in attendance, who were so large in number that many had to wait outside the hearing room, came out against the proposed gas station.  The major points brought up by opponents were incompatibility with the tourist zone, a hazard to pedestrians, odors, lighting, and vehicle traffic flow coming in and going out of the proposed gas station.

Mayor Skip Beeler and Vice-Mayor Dave Neddestrom spoke out against the gas station in their capacities as residents of Cocoa Beach.  Mayor Beeler pointed out that there is no turnout lane for the proposed Race Trac like other Race Tracs in the local area.  
Additionally, Mayor Beeler stated that the Florida Department of Transportation has plans to build a bike path from the Wakulla Motel down to 1st Street South.  Once that bike path has been built, the Mayor contends that pedestrian traffic leading up to the proposed gas station will only increase.

The property in question is comprised of three lots: Harvey Groves, the former Burger King lot, and an adjacent vacant lot to the east.

The Cocoa Beach City Staff memo recommended that the Board approve the variance, provided Race Trac makes adjustments to fit within the City's Comprehensive Zoning Plan.
Representatives of Race Trac contend that the value they bring to the Cocoa Beach community is lower gas prices.  They compared the proposed Race Trac as similar in juxtaposition as the Sunoco gas station located on A1A next to the Holiday Inn Express in the tourist area near the Cocoa Beach Pier.
Race Trac gas stations often have some of the lowest gas prices in Brevard County.