Kum & Go loses latest attempt to build gas station at Sugar House Park

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A Salt Lake City appeals hearing officer has denied an appeal from the Midwestern gas station chain Kum & Go, which has been trying to win approval to build a gas station on private land immediately northwest of Sugar House Park.

The opinion affirms a vote by the Planning Commission, which voted to block the gas station on a long list of largely environmental grounds.

“The Planning Commission must be affirmed if there is a substantial evidentiary basis in the record to do so,” the appeals hearing officer, Mary Woodhead, wrote in her opinion. “Although some of the findings by the Planning Commission were debatable based on the record, the decision below is supported by the findings that the traffic impact was detrimental and could not be mitigated. Thus, the decision below can be and is affirmed.”

A Kum & Go representative declined to comment on the Planning Commission vote or lost appeal. The company is in the process of being acquired by the Salt Lake City-based Maverik, whose representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Woodhead specifically noted the concerns about yet another car-centric business at the intersection of 2100 South and 1300 East, where the city has guided the convergence of multiple car sewers that leads to daily congestion.

“Because the Planning Commission decision with regard to the inability of the Applicant to mitigate traffic impacts is supported by the record, the decision below is not arbitrary, capricious or illegal,” Woodhead continued. “The decision of the Planning Commission to deny the conditional use application is affirmed.”

Kum & Go attorneys had argued that the hundreds of public comments against the proposal were irrelevant, a notion that Woodhead pushed back against in her opinion.

“The applicant argues that only ‘data’ presented by experts qualifies as relevant evidence,” Woodhead wrote. “This interpretation would make public comment irrelevant except when offered by experts.”

The decision isn’t the final step for Kum & Go. The company has 30 days to appeal to a state court to try and overturn the rulings and move forward with the gas station.

Winning approval to build the gas station would likely increase the company’s value to Maverik, though it’s not clear whether the sale is set to close before the issue could be solved in court.

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Posted by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson grew up near Chicago and made his way West to study journalism at the University of Montana. He's been a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Bend Bulletin and Salt Lake Tribune. A move from Portland, Oregon, to Salt Lake City opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design for building strong neighborhoods. He lives on the border of the Liberty Wells and Ballpark neighborhoods.