A NEW service station has been approved for Fernvale, but Somerset councillors are none too pleased about approving the project.
The new Metro Petroleum service station is set to be built on the southbound lane of the Brisbane Valley Highway, barely 100 metres from the existing Freedom Fuels on the opposite side of the road.
It will be accessible via the highway and a driveway connecting to Simpson St behind the property.
Fourteen parking spaces, one of which will be for disabled use, and six double-sided fuel bowsers will be constructed as part of the development, which will also include an air hose and water facility, and pad mount transformer.
The building will be more than just a service station, with plans for two food and drink outlets, one of which will be serviced by a drive-through.
While the facility is expected to operate 24/7, delivery and waste collection vehicles will not be allowed to use the property between 6pm and 7am, for the sake of neighbouring residences.
Councillor Sean Choat raised his concerns about the placement of the development, which adjoins Ferny Gully.
“It’s right next to the creek. I’ve looked at the flood map, and I’m sure due diligence has been done,” he said.
“But fuel and oil run-off is going to make its way down there regardless of what they do.”
In addition to the installation of the service station, an auxiliary 35m left-turn lane will be added to the highway to support access to the Simpson Street entrance.
The inclusion of the auxiliary lane has prompted the State to enforce further changes, including the construction of a raised centre median to prevent unwanted right turns.
Adding the new lane and median strip will have further impacts on the road, including the loss of street parking on both sides of the road.
The loss of parking and median construction has particularly perturbed councillors.
“I have some serious concerns. I’ve looked at this, and come back to it again and again,” Cr Choat said.
“Some of the changes will impact the viability, financially, of these businesses. People want convenience, and if there’s no parking in front of these businesses, then they’re going to lose customers.”
Cr Robert Whalley shared the same concerns, but felt there was little to be done about it, as parking issues weren’t covered by the planning scheme development applications are judged by.
“Obviously Fernvale, like a lot of our towns, has a legacy from previous councils of there not being enough carparking,” he said.
“But the people who make these applications are getting smarter. They know the planning scheme, they know if we block it they can take it to the Planning and Development Court and win. It’s a waste of ratepayers money, and if it goes the court might change the conditions we have put in to protect the community.”
Though some were reluctant, councillors gave their unanimous approval for the development to go ahead.
Extracted from Gatton Star