The Westport QuikTrip store and gas station will nearly double in size, under an expansion plan that won City Council approval Thursday after addressing significant neighborhood concerns.
The QuikTrip is one of a number of recent development changes proposed for Westport that have raised alarms about traffic, pedestrian and motorist safety, and crowding in the urban neighborhood.
The council unanimously endorsed a plan Thursday in which QuikTrip’s pumps will be on the west side of Mercier Street and the store on the east side of the street, with the company having control and maintenance responsibility for the street, which it said it needed for its parking lot and to keep the street to its standards.
But the plan provides public right of way on Mercier, and it will continue to function as a city street, addressing the neighborhood’s concerns about losing public access.
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“We’re fairly satisfied with it,” Julie Tenenbaum, vice president of the West Plaza Neighborhood Association, said of the compromise that emerged just a few hours before the council meeting.
“It cannot be closed,” Councilwoman Jolie Justus said about Mercier Street. She explained that the development plan vacates the street for QuikTrip but provides a full easement back to the city.
“It is a compromise,” said attorney Jim Bowers, representing QuikTrip. Bowers said the company had listened to the West Plaza neighborhood’s concerns about the expansion and accommodated many of its suggestions.
The existing QuikTrip is at the southwest corner of Westport Road and Mercier Street. The project is for the south side of Westport Road between Holly Street on the east and Roanoke Parkway on the west.
Andrew Smith, QuikTrip real estate manager for the Kansas City area, said the outcome represented a good collaboration with the community. He said the QuikTrip will grow from 3,200 square feet to 5,700 square feet, with many service and architectural improvements.
QuikTrip’s first proposal was to raze its existing facility and build a bigger one, but that met with resounding neighborhood opposition at a City Plan Commission meeting last year. The plan commission agreed the proposal didn’t fit the urban character of nearby properties and was too big for the proposed site.
A redesigned plan returned to City Hall and the City Council last month. The city supported the new plan, based on revisions that included considerably more landscaping, better stormwater detention, better traffic calming devices and signage changes. Mercier will have raised crosswalks for added pedestrian safety.