Greenwood officials are considering allowing more gas stations along State Road 135 and eastern Greenwood near Interstate 65, but under one condition.
The new gas stations would need to meet strict architectural and design standards to be built.
Greenwood zoning rules currently forbid gas stations in the State Road 135 and I-65 corridors, though some have been allowed after receiving special approval from the board of zoning appeals.
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City officials want to simplify the process for constructing a gas station while creating a set of standards to ensure the businesses fit in with the surrounding area.
“It’s not so much that we are opposed to gas stations,” Greenwood City Council member Mike Campbell said. “We are trying to make them look nice and fit into the area and not be an aesthetic problem.”
The city has fielded requests for more gas stations to be constructed, he said.
Speedway wants to build a gas station at the northeast intersection of State Road 135 and Stones Crossing Road.
Whether the station has to follow the proposed rules will depend on whether the board gives approval now or defers until the zoning rules are changed, planning director Bill Peeples said.
The State Road 135 corridor extends 1,000 feet from both sides of State Road 135 from County Line Road to Whiteland Road within the city limits. The I-65 corridor borders extend to County Line Road, 500 feet east of Graham Road, 500 feet west of Emerson Avenue and a half-mile south of Main Street.
These areas encompass much of the commercial and industrial development in the city, Peeples said.
Under the new rules the city is considering, new stations in those areas would be limited to eight pumping stations, have to be constructed with brick or stone, would not be able to display products, such as salt or water softener, outside and be required to have masonry walls to screen them from adjacent properties. The new rules need to be approved by the advisory plan commission and city council.
Some of the rules, such as the construction standards, will not apply to current gas stations, but they would have to comply with the ban on displaying products outside, Peeples said.
The new rules would become part of the city’s overlay districts, which dictate what can be built along State Road 135 and I-65, including restrictions on property use and construction materials.
“The council originally wanted to prohibit gas stations, but the reality sometimes is that saying ‘no’ is not the best answer, but ‘yes and regulate’ is the better one,” Campbell said.
Previously, when a gas station received approval from the board of zoning appeals to build in an area they were typically forbidden, the city wouldn’t impose any specific restrictions on how the gas station could be built.
With the proposed changes, the process would be simpler, but stricter limits would apply to the construction and use of the facility, Campbell said.
The proposed restrictions would be different than requirements for other gas stations in Greenwood.
The land around U.S. 31, for example, doesn’t have any set of specific standards for gas stations, Peeples said.
But masonry construction — brick or stone — isn’t an uncommon requirement in the city’s overlay districts, he said.