Future gas station fuels protest

An overlay meant to protect property owners on a neighboring tract of land is being asked to be removed for the construction of a gas station in Dripping Springs.

QuikTrip Corporation, which owns 10-acres of land on the periphery of a neighborhood at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and Sawyer Ranch Rd., is looking for the city to scrap the overlay on three acres of the land in order to build the station.

But a decision to postpone by the city council was seen as a puzzling move for neighboring residents, who want the city to honor the overlay and prevent the development.

“You want to postpone the decisions so we can speak with the developers, but we have already made a decision,” said local resident Todd Simmons. “I made a purchase knowing a gas station couldn’t be built near our home.”

The overlay was established over a decade ago when the neighborhood had a similar fight against a proposed gas station on the sight. As a means to protect the residents, an overlay with the city was made.

Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds was on the council at the time and recalls the situation vividly. Because of this, Foulds said that he intends to honor the overlay.

“I met with the applicant, and I don’t get the feeling he isn’t trying to communicate or be aggressive with this proposal,” said Councilmember Taline Manassian.

Because the council believed the applicant would be willing to work with the neighbors, multiple members of the body supported to postponing the decision until August.

However, the neighboring 10-acre plot of land does not have an overlay attached, so the developer could build a station close by.

Applicant and property owner JD Dudley said he is willing to speak with the neighbors on their concerns.

Dudley said he was not made aware that the overlay on the property existed until two months ago, a result of city error.

Because of this, Dudley is asking for the overlay to be removed.

“Honestly, I want to build this site here and think it will be great for the community, but I don’t want to do that at the expense of someone having negative feelings toward myself personally or QuikTrip as a company,” Dudley said in a letter to the residents.

Dudley argued that a developer could build a multifamily complex at the current site some 70 inches away from property owners. In his mind, the gas station would be less burdensome on the community.

Despite the call to work with QuikTrip, multiple residents said a decision was made: no gas station, no matter what.

The development will come back to the city council in late August, where some councilmembers said they intend to honor the overlay.

It is not known at the publication of this article if QuikTrip will opt to build the gas station on the portion of land without the overlay. 

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