patchett building.JPG

The Newman Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Jan. 21 on a proposal to construct an ARCO AM/PM convenience store, filling station and car wash on Highway 33 between Mariposa and Kern streets. The open shell of a former auto dealership building which has been empty for many years now stands on part of the project area.

NEWMAN - The Newman Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on a proposed ARCO AM/PM  project Thursday, Jan. 21.

The applicant, Mountain House-based Rigna Investments, is proposing construction of a convenience store/filling station and an automatic car wash on the west side of Highway 33 between Kern and Mariposa streets.

A commercial fueling station was part of the firm’s initial proposal, but was eliminated at the request of city staff.

Commissioners will conduct a site plan review and consider approval of separate conditional use permits for the convenience store/filling station and the car wash components. A variance from minimum on-site parking requirements will also be considered by the commission.

The project site, which consists of two separate properties, formerly housed the Patchett’s Ford dealership and a bus transit company, City Manager Michael Holland noted, but has stood vacant in the heart of Newman’s Highway 33 corridor for some time.

Previous efforts to redevelop the site have not come to fruition, Holland said.

“We have had some different opportunities that have fallen through,” he commented. “This is a good opportunity for us to provide more jobs and shopping opportunities.”

Holland said he believes the project fits well with the city’s vision for its Highway 33 corridor.

A project description and city staff reports outlined details. The project would include:

• Demolition of the existing buildings and construction of an AM/PM convenience store of 2,880 square feet, which would sell pre-packaged convenience grocery items, hot and cold drinks, beer and wine. Food preparation would be limited to re-warming items and packaging for resale.

• Construction of a 24-by-48 foot car wash structure.

• Installation of eight multi-product dispensers creating 16 fueling stations beneath a 6,000 square foot canopy.

The project description stated that the convenience store would operate 24 hours a day.

Noise control measures proposed by the city as conditions of approval would include construction of an eight-foot screening wall to the rear of the site, separating it from the residential uses on the western half of the block, and allowing the car wash and vacuums to operate only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., according to staff reports.

In addition to the noise study, Holland said, the city has conducted light and traffic studies.

“We wanted to be sure that we understand what the impacts will be,” he explained.

The daily number of customers is anticipated to be approximately 2,000, with 1,860 vehicle trips daily.

The business is expected to employ 12 to 15 people, with a mix of full-time and part-time jobs.

The variance will be required because the project does not provide the 13 parking spots the code requires for the convenience store, Holland explained. He said the plan is deficient by six stalls.

But, Holland said, staff believes that the proposed seven stalls in front of the store will be sufficient because the 16 fueling stations essentially serve as parking spaces as well - even though they are not recognized as such in the city code. The code, he suggested, is somewhat antiquated in that regard.

“It is uncommon for customers to purchase gas and then move their car to go into the c-store to shop,” the city’s staff report stated.

The Planning Commission will convene at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21 to consider the application.

Members of the public may participate via Zoom or teleconferencing.

Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/99862086013, Passcode: 218785

Teleconference: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 998 6208 6013, Passcode: 218785