Broomfield considers buffer zone for gas stations

BROOMFIELD — In an effort to avoid commercial strips crammed with gas stations, Broomfield city officials are considering a measure that would implement a buffer zone between existing service stations and proposed new stations. 

The ordinance, which was introduced on first reading during this week’s Broomfield City Council meeting, comes at a time of heightened activity from would-be gas station developers. 

“In the past six months, there have been two applications for consideration of gas stations through the concept review process and there is currently one additional gas station with an active site development plan application,” according to a city memo.

The minimum separation would be 1,000 feet “as measured in a straight line from the nearest edge of the property line of each respective gas station or potential gas station lot,” the memo said. “The ordinance allows an exception for two gas stations located at an intersection. The ordinance would apply to gas stations established after the effective date of the proposed ordinance.”

Limiting gas station development serves several purposes, Broomfield staffers say: 

  • “The duplication of similar, or nearly similar, product and service does not increase the demand for these services — rather it divides the existing demand to a greater number of businesses or venues.”
  • “There are several impacts on the community from similar auto-related venues in a limited area, including vehicle flow, character of the area, lighting and noise, and reduction of opportunities for other businesses.”
  • Because fuel tax is collected by the state, gas stations aren’t a major driver of tax receipts for municipal governments. So, another type of business in place of a would-be station would likely have a positive relative impact on Broomfield’s coffers. 

In addition to implementing the buffer zone, the measure being considered by Broomfield officials would also update language in city code to include electric-vehicle charging stations.

For zoning purposes, EV stations would be classified the same way as gas stations.

“As drivers transition toward a higher percentage of use for electric vehicles, it is important to plan for and anticipate the need for future electric vehicle chargers. It is anticipated that in the future Broomfield may be approached regarding a commercial fast charger facility as a new commercial use on high travel roadways,” city documents said. “Although this use has not been proposed yet, it is important to provide guidance within the zoning code regarding how to classify a commercial electric vehicle charging facility as a primary use of a property.”

A public hearing and vote on the gas station regulations are likely to be held next month.

Source: BizWest

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