By Richard Smith
The Surprise Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit for A Valero gas station and Corner Store market in the Surprise Farms at the southwest corner of Bell Road and Loop 303 during its July 6 meeting.
Commissioner Dennis Smith asked if the Valero station and convenience store almost directly across the street would remain open. A representative for the developer said it will.
“They feel there’s enough volume to keep both stations open,” said Patrick Musser of the PM Design Group, Inc. Phoenix office.
The combination of a 3,600-square-foot fueling canopy and 6,174-square-foot convenience store will go in north of the WinCo in the Surprise Farms Gateway center.
Surprise planner Robert Kuhfuss said the parties involved initially struggled with how to orient these buildings. Eventually, the developer, city and Surprise police found a setup consistent with the crime prevention through environmental design philosophy.
“This is the idea that we want to try to design our communities in ways that minimize the opportunities for crime. As was pointed out, when you have people pumping gas, they’re in a little bit of a vulnerable situation. They’re not paying attention to what is going on,” Mr. Kuhfuss said. “This arrangement works well for the PD because they can drive down Bell Road and see what’s going on. They can see the building, see the gas pumps, so we’re very comfortable with how this site has been arranged.”
Mr. Smith also asked about the exit on the east side of the property to go out to Bell Road, wondering if it would conflict with the access lane to Loop 303. Mr. Kuhfuss said the exit will have a separate lane with a right turn pocket.
The architecture does not match the Winco Center but is designed to tie in fairly well, Mr. Kuhfuss said. Mainly this refers to the green and lime green in the Corner Store logo and the teal in the Valero logo.
Commissioner Gisele Norberg said her one concern regarding this permit was that the signage on site promotes Corner Store more than Valero, the more recognized brand name locally.
Mr. Musser said Corner Store was once part of Valero, but the franchises broke apart about a decade ago. Corner Store is the primary tenant on this site, and still contracts with Valero for gas.
“Honestly, I’d prefer the Valero sign to be a bit bigger for people who are driving through,” Ms. Norberg said.
• Earlier in the July 6 meeting, the commission approved another conditional use permit, this one for a new Burger King restaurant with a drive-thru in Greenway Marketplace, on the southeast corner of Greenway and Reems roads.