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    QuikTrip Scores a Victory

    Despite heavy resident protest, the chain gains city approval to build a 4,092-square-foot c-store and gas station in an upscale Texas community.

    KELLER, Texas -- Following up on a story reported by CSNews Online yesterday, the City Council here voted 3-2 to allow construction of a new QuikTrip convenience store, despite hostile protest from residents.

    More than 300 people, many in white T-shirts, watched and cheered as residents lined up to say that they're worried about additional noise and crime, and that the store could reduce the value of their upscale homes, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. A petition signed by nearly 1,800 residents was also presented.

    Council members, however, noted that the project -- a 4,092-square-foot convenience store and gas station -- more than met the city's requirements and standards.

    "We've changed plans to fit the fancy design of Hidden Lakes. We've included yellow brick in the design of the convenience store to go along with the surrounding neighborhood," said Karen Mitchell, president of the Mitchell Planning Group, which drew up plans for the QuikTrip chain. She said the store would actually make the area safer because eyes would be on the site 24 hours a day, and cars would slow down to use the store instead of humming by at 55 miles per hour.

    Many of the opposing residents agreed that QuikTrip is better than many convenience stores, said Todd Almand, chairman of the leadership and planning committee for the Hidden Lakes Homeowners Association. But that is not the problem, he said, adding, "The issue isn't about gas stations and convenience stores. Its location is what we oppose. It would be in front of one of the most prominent subdivisions in Keller."

    He noted that the city's other QuikTrip is in a commercial area on U.S. 377.

    Almand and others said they feared that building the store so close to the yellow brick entrance of Hidden Lakes would affect property values in the subdivision of $350,000 to $500,000 homes, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

    In December, the council rejected QuikTrip's request for a similar permit mainly because the business asked for variances from city code. Under QuikTrip's current request, the business is obligated to pay for moving utility lines underground, modifications to nearby traffic lights and possible driveways to the store. Last month, the city's Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approving the construction.

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