Gas stations interested in opposite sides of 105th

Staff Writer
I cover the cities of Andover, Blaine and Ramsey. I have worked at ABC Newspapers since August 2007.

There could be two new convenience stores on opposite sides of 105th Avenue, at Radisson Road, in Blaine.

The city of Blaine is currently reviewing two separate development proposals for this corner, which is just east of the National Sports Center.

Kwik Trip is eying the north side of 105th. Another gas station business, whose name has not been revealed, is interested in being part of a multi-tenant development by Airport Park on the south side of 105th.

Both proposals were reviewed at the Sept. 7 Blaine City Council meeting. Kwik Trip has an easier path forward since current city zoning rules does not allow a gas station to be constructed next to Airport Park. But there will be another discussion about these rules since two new people are on the council.

Kwik Trip is buying property next to an industrial park from a private landowner. It wishes to construct a 10,289-square-foot building, which would include a car wash. The council did not raise any objections to the development on Sept. 7. The purpose that evening was to hold a first reading for rezoning the property from I-2 Heavy Industrial to Planned Business District. Convenience stores are not allowed on heavy industrial-zoned land in Blaine. The second reading and a review of the plat was set for the Sept. 21 meeting.

A significant hurdle for any convenience store is access and this issue has already been resolved. People driving on Radisson Road and 105th Avenue will be able to turn into the parking lot, but left turns onto Radisson and 105th will not be allowed.

Gas station on south side

Drivers looking for another option may choose to go across the street. A developer, Doug Hoskin of DEHL Properties, has a contract to purchase 2.9 acres from the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

Hoskin told the council on Sept. 7 that his concept includes a 12,000-square-foot building that would include a gas station, car wash and a restaurant.

A decision made by the council in September 2015 prevents construction of a gas station next to Airport Park.

MAC owns the 36-acre Airport Park and is leasing almost all of it to the National Sports Center, which controls the soccer fields. The city takes care of the four softball fields, but currently has no official lease with MAC or the National Sports Center.

One soccer field tucked between Radisson Road and a parking lot would be lost when this 3-acre site is developed, according to Blaine Planning and Community Development Director Bryan Schafer. All the other soccer and softball fields would remain.

While the city of Blaine does not own Airport Park, it has zoning authority and can say what type of developments can be constructed. It has the same authority for other privately-owned land in the city.

MAC needed council approval before it could even market this property. Two years ago, the council agreed to modify the city’s comprehensive plan. The land had been zoned for airport uses only. But the property had long not been needed for any expansion of the Anoka County-Blaine Airport. The 3-acre parcel was split from the rest of Airport Park and it was rezoned to a business district.

However, the council set up a special Airport Business District category that has its own set of rules. One of the developments the council said it would not allow is a gas station. Other forbidden uses would be coffee shops or pharmacies with drive-thru lanes, a grocery store or liquor store.

During the Sept. 17, 2015 meeting, Council Member Dave Clark said the city of Blaine needs more “office-type land uses.” He and the rest of the council at the time were concerned about bringing in commercial developments that would add a lot more traffic to 105th Avenue. At the time, the city was still trying to get help from the state to pay for the reconstruction of this road.

105th Avenue is now under construction. The new road is slated to be completed toward the end of 2018.

At the Sept. 7 meeting, Clark said he wanted Hoskin’s concept discussed at a workshop to make sure there would be equal treatment between the two different developments on opposite corners.

Council Member Dick Swanson said the council already made its decision.

“You knew those rules when you bought it,” Swanson said to Hoskin.

Council Members Andy Garvais and Julie Jeppson were elected in November 2016 and joined the council in January. They felt this case deserved a second look in case this new council is supportive of gas stations on both corners of 105th Avenue and Radisson Road.

Hoskin said he is not obligated to purchase the 3-acre property from MAC if the council sticks by its previous decision.

“I’m just asking for fairness in the process,” he said.

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