Dirt Cheap Targets Used Car Property


Neighbors petition city to reject liquor license for store at 915 N. Kirkwood



dirtcheap
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Dirt Cheap, owned by U-Gas, wants to open a store at 915 N. Kirkwood Road. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
November 30, 2012
Todd Rehg, public works director for the city of Kirkwood, confirmed this week that the city has been approached by Dirt Cheap to locate a beer, liquor and cigarette store in a vacant building at 915 N. Kirkwood Road.

The Kirkwood Planning and Zoning Commission on Nov. 7 rejected plans by U-Gas for a 24-hour gas station and convenience store at this site.

U-Gas, which owns Dirt Cheap, was turned away from this former used car lot after residents protested that the station would increase traffic and adversely affect the character of their neighborhood.

U-gas has since filed an appeal to planning and zoning's recommendation, and Rehg said that Dirt Cheap cannot file for an occupancy permit while the appeal for U-Gas is pending.

Should the Dirt Cheap proposal eventually move forward, neighbors may have little to say in whether the business takes up quarters along this mostly undeveloped, residential stretch of Kirkwood Road.

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A liquor store is permitted under the location's B-3 zoning, and does not require city council or planning and zoning approval, according to Rehg.

The Dirt Cheap store will not include gas pumps.

"The only approval needed will be the sign for the business, to go before the architectural review board, and the liquor license gets approved by the city council," Rehg said.

Shortly after U-Gas was rejected, a banner appeared across the property's only building announcing "coming soon Dirt Cheap." That sign, said Rehg, is illegal due to the pending appeal by U-Gas. The owner has until Nov. 30 to remove the sign.

Should the Dirt Cheap proposal eventually move forward, Rehg reported that a commercial occupancy inspection will be needed.

"Once the inspection is completed, a list of items that need to be corrected will be given to the property owner," Rehg said. "Once these items are completed, they can file for a building permit to remodel the interior of the existing building to be used for the liquor store."

Neighbors have already rallied in opposition to news of a possible Dirt Cheap at the location. As of Nov. 27, more than 200 signatures had been collected on an online petition urging the city to reject a liquor license to Craig Taylor, president and CEO of U-Gas Inc. and Dirt Cheap. The petition reads, in part:

"...It will create a safety issue for our children and other pedestrians. We are also opposed to a decrease in the city of Kirkwood's historical integrity and our property values due to the sale of liquor ..."

Steven Perkinson, a resident of Wilson Avenue which borders the used car property on the south, was vocal in his opposition to the U-Gas development, and said it would be a "disgrace" should the city council grant Dirt Cheap a liquor license.

"I have not invested in my house since 1996 to have it decrease in value overnight because of a liquor store. My property will be Dirt Cheap," Perkinson said.

There are 11 Dirt Cheap locations in the St. Louis area, two in Southern Missouri and one in Paducah, Ky. The St. Louis area stores have closing times of 10 p.m., with the exception of an 11 p.m. closing time for the store in St. Charles. All stores have earlier closing times on Sunday.

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