Hayden The Hayden Town Council on Thursday denied Kum & Go’s request to move a block closer to the core of the historic downtown district along U.S. Highway 40.
The 4-1 decision was made after a three-hour council meeting attended by an unusually large crowd of about 60 people inside The Haven Community Center. Hayden Mayor Jim Haskins said it was the biggest crowd he had seen at a meeting in his 12 years in town politics.
The Hayden Town Council was tasked with deciding whether to allow the two existing gas stations to move within the historic downtown district. Existing rules set forth in the town’s relatively new comprehensive plan did not allow the gas stations to move, which helped prompt the Planning Commission to vote in January against a proposal brought forward by Kum & Go.
Kum & Go wanted to expand and move east to Walnut Street and Jefferson Avenue from its location at Poplar Street and Jefferson Avenue.
Neil Broderick, vice president of real estate for Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go, spoke at the meeting and addressed some of the concerns he heard from residents.
One of those concerns was that a new Kum & Go would keep people from shopping at local businesses.
“I think we’re part of the solution,” he said. “Just stand in front of the Kum & Go and watch all the people walk in.”
Those people also will walk to neighboring businesses, Broderick said.
“Forty-five percent of your sales tax comes from people traveling up and down (U.S.) 40, and we know they’re not getting stopped all the time when they could.”
Terry Anderson, who owns the commercial building across the street from the proposed Kum & Go site, argued that a move and expansion would encourage more people to stop when driving through town.
“All the tenants I have left in this building are for letting Kum & Go move,” Anderson said. “I just don’t see how it can be detrimental. If more people stop, they are going to look around.”
More than 40 letters and a survey compiled by Hayden residents Rondi Bowlin and Annette Hall seemed to show strong support for Kum & Go’s move. Opponents, however, spoke passionately Thursday night against the move.
“I have nothing against this business, but I don’t want it in the heart of town, in the heart of the community,” Marie Bridges said. “It will tear the town apart.”
Hayden resident Tammie Delaney argued that Kum & Go was good for the town, but the new location was not, and the empty lot in the heart of the commercial district could be used in a better way.
“This is the lone location in town where we have a really good chance of making it happen,” Delaney said.
Ultimately, Town Council members agreed the gas station was not appropriate at the proposed location.
“I tend to agree that a refueling station is not the best use of that lot,” council member Tom Rogalski said.
“To me it all comes down to the gas pumps in the center of town,” council member Tim Redmond said.
Broderick said he does not know how Kum & Go will proceed. Broderick said his company did not want to build a new store on the outskirts of town, as is encouraged in the town’s planning guidelines.
“There is a strong economic incentive for us to locate where we proposed to locate,” he said.