City council OKs Santa Fe Market plans
Baldwin City Council members have given the go-ahead for improvements at the Santa Fe Market, after the store’s owner agreed to abandon plans for a gravel area at the site and instead landscape it.
Store owner Frank Foye and Tina Rakes, the city’s director of zoning and codes, came to an agreement Monday night on Phase II of the Santa Fe Market site development plan during the meeting.
The plan, according to the city, calls for the addition of diesel fuel pumps and a car wash at Santa Fe Market, 522 Ames. However, some details of the plan — specifically an area slated to be graveled over and used for displaying rental equipment — had caused the city staff to recommend its denial, even though the Baldwin City Planning Commission already had given its approval.
Monday night, Foye agreed to change from gravel to a landscaping area to fit city codes, and the council unanimously approved the amended plan.
“I think this is a good compromise,” Mayor Ken Wagner said. “It’s not requiring him to hard-surface that area, which is a legitimate concern of his. Yet, it somewhat satisfies the integrity of the city code. This is a good compromise.”
The area of discussion is on the north side of the property. Foye’s original plan called for a gravel area to be used for displaying U-Haul trucks and trailers, which can be rented at Santa Fe Market. However, city code says areas used for parking must be paved.
Most of Monday night’s discussion centered on whether the area would be used for parking and whether using the space for U-Haul storage counted as parking.
Foye was asked by the council to explain his intention for the space.
“There are several reasons for the gravel area,” Foye said. “The main intent is to help control the traffic flow. I thought that and the use of arrows on the payment would help control the flow of traffic. Another use of the gravel area is water runoff. That’s something we would have to consider. The third part of it was to display my U-Haul products. The main intent would be to put the trailers and auto-transports back there, but I’m sure there might be a time when I would stick trucks back there.
“I don’t want to keep that area full of trucks,” he said. “I want that area to have good visibility for people to see what we got back there. We have enough parking spaces on the property that I can park trucks at the back property line and not have a problem.”
The idea of turning the gravel area into a landscaping space was brought up at the meeting. Rakes said that wouldn’t be breaking city code. If the area was turned into landscaping, city staff would recommend approval, she said.
Wagner asked Foye if it would be OK to keep the area grassy and perhaps add landscaping trees or shrubs.
“I would not be against that,” Foye said. “I don’t want that to be a point that stops the project from going through. If it’s grass, I can live with that.”
Wagner liked it, too.
“I personally like the idea of that being landscaping,” Wagner said. “I like the idea of it being used for landscaping to keep vehicle traffic off of that area.”