Hayden gas station aims to move into historic downtown district | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden gas station aims to move into historic downtown district

Jack Weinstein

— Kum & Go wants to move down Jefferson Avenue in Hay­den, but to do so it needs the Hay­den Town Council to amend the town's land-use code.

The Hayden Planning Com­mission is scheduled to consider a request from Kum & Go on Thursday to amend the list of permitted principal uses in the historic downtown district to allow the relocation of existing gas stations.

Kum & Go would like to move its station to Walnut Street and Jefferson Avenue from Poplar Street and Jefferson Avenue.

The Planning Commission's action will determine whether it will recommend approval or denial of the request to the Hayden Town Council. The Town Council will consider the request Feb. 17.

Hayden's land-use code, approved after the town's comprehensive plan was adopted in 2005 and updated in 2007, doesn't allow gas stations downtown — an area bordered by Washington Avenue to the south, Lincoln Avenue to the north, Second Street to the west and Pine Street to the east. The historic downtown district is intended to be a pedestrian-friendly area that promotes retail, residential and office uses.

The land-use code, however, allowed the existing downtown gas stations, Kum & Go and Bear River Valley Co-op, to remain.

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Kum & Go made a similar request in January 2010, but without citing a reason, asked that the Planning Commission delay action. Company officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Steamboat lawyer Bob Weiss is helping Kum & Go with the request. In a letter to the town dated Dec. 1, he wrote that they think the change would be consistent with the town's comprehensive plan while benefiting Hayden.

"The plan recognizes that growth of commercial uses should be available to meet the demands of the vehicle traffic," Weiss wrote. "This will increase sales tax revenues. If the town were to approve this text amendment to allow relocation of the existing Kum & Go store to the new location, it would not result in a proliferation of convenience-type facilities. The town would only be preserving the existing situation."

Town planner Tim Katers, in his review of the request to the Planning Commission, wrote that it is not a referendum about whether a new Kum & Go would be a positive addition to Hayden.

Katers recommended that the Planning Commission recommend that the council deny the request because it's not supported by the town's comprehensive plan and land-use code.

Hayden resident Tammie Del­­aney, who served as a coordinator of the comprehensive plan, said more than 500 community members participated in drafting it. She said it outlines a community vision for growth that doesn't allow additional gas stations downtown.

Delaney said Kum & Go officials, during an open-house meeting with community members in September, called the proposed new gas station the company's "flagship." She isn't opposed to a bigger Kum & Go station but said there are locations on the east and west sides of town zoned for auto-oriented commercial uses.

She added that Walnut, downtown Hayden's main street, is an "untapped treasure" and has the potential to be vibrant again.

"Kum & Go, there's some great places for them to put this flagship store, and that's exciting," Delaney said. "But the intention for Walnut Street is to get people to come and stay for an hour if there are shops, a week if there's lodging or a lifetime if they want to come and raise a family here."

Town Clerk Susan Irvine said Kum & Go wouldn't submit an application for the new store's design unless the land use code were amended to allow the relocation of the gas station.

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