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Fairfax Chevron Foes Ready for Town Council Battle

The Town Council will continue a hearing on the controversial proposal that started in December.

The future of a shuttered gas station on 2001 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard parcel (between Claus Drive and Azalea Avenue) goes before the Fairfax Town Council tonight. Credit: Gideon Rubin
The future of a shuttered gas station on 2001 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard parcel (between Claus Drive and Azalea Avenue) goes before the Fairfax Town Council tonight. Credit: Gideon Rubin

Opponents of a proposed Chevron Station are gearing up for Round 2 of a Town Council hearing that began in December with a marathon meeting that lasted more than five hours.

The hearing will be held during tonight's 7 p.m. Town Council meeting at the Fairfax Women's Club (46 Park Road, Fairfax).

A proposed Chevron station and Extra MIle convenience store that would fill a vacant lot on 2001 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard (between Claus Drive and Azalea Avenue) already has the blessings of blessings of city planners, who in September issued a report recommending its passage.

Ron Jacobs of PM Design Group applied for a conditional use permit on behalf of the owner is Arash Salkhi to refurbish a Fairfax Gas station that operated out of that location until about two years ago.

But opponents of the proposal say that the two locally owned gas stations Fairfax already has are enough, and that approving a Chevron station would be inconsistent with a General Plan that calls for making the downtown area more pedestrian and bicycle friendly and preserving Fairfax's small-town charm.

"It just doesn't fit with Fairfax, especially downtown," said Jennifer Hammond of No Chevron in Fairfax, a group that's already gathered more than 700 signatures of those opposed to the proposal.

The Council is unlikely to resolve the controversy anytime soon, Fairfax Mayor David Weinsoff told Patch shortly after the Dec. 4 meeting.

"I would suspect that the next meeting would not close the door," Weinsoff said.

"There's a lot of data that we anticipate coming back at us in January and I think that there may have to be some more consideration and some more conversations."

The deliberative process doesn't bother Hammond.

"We're OK with the length of the process," she said. "No matter how much time they need we want the right decision to be made."

Hammond said she hasn't been able to discern which way the Council is leaning, noting that the proposal "could go either way" at this point.

And she insists her group hasn't lost enthusiasm for what could be a protracted fight.

"I think the momentum is still there," she said.

 

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russ bevans January 15, 2014 at 10:46 AM
There has to be something fundamentally wrong with the brain cells of the residents of Fairfax that oppose the Chevron station. 1) There was a station there for many years. 2) Why will a replacement station destroy the small town feel of Fairfax? Get a clue.
Mark Fiore January 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM
We also used to mine mercury by Tomales Bay and clear cut Mt. Tam, should we turn back the clock on that, too? This is much more than just a friendly ol' neighborhood gas station, it's also a 1900+ sq. foot fast-food/"convenience" store. I-5 anyone?
C Ross January 15, 2014 at 12:40 PM
@Russ: As far as I can tell, it's an ideological thing in that Chevron is a humongous corporation, as opposed to a small mom and pop type gas station owner. I personally have very mixed feelings about this. You're absolutely right that there was a gas station there for many years, so theoretically refurbishing it shouldn't change anything. I think it's more the convenience store they are worried about, which I guess would draw riff raff buying gum cigarettes and maybe even hot dogs and motor oil, and apparently wouldn't be carrying $12 organic chocolate bars and other sustainable snacks wrapped in biobags. Ironically, I think that the main competition would be with 711, which has already been subjected to all kinds of scrutiny, legal wrangling etc.. That said, I personally would have liked for Fairfax to hold onto it's small town flavor. But that has already been long been lost, especially since the GE mega-complex opened on the east side of town, putting family owned China Village out of business and competing directly with several other locally owned businesses, including Java Hut and Scoop. PS Perhaps if Chevron opens, GE can work out an arrangement for their employees not only to purchase their gas there (it will probably be cheaper than the Rino across the street), but to park AND smoke there as well (as opposed to in and around my driveway). As to me, I doubt I will get gas there, except on the rare occasion that I forget to stop while driving through San Anselmo, or on the way home from work in the East Bay. PPS Is Drake a small town boulevard? Have any of you actually tried to walk from downtown to any of the businesses on Drake. How exactly do you get across Broadway to, say First Federal Bank from B of A (more than a few Fairfaxians DO have accounts there, gasp!)? Or to/from M & Gs? (They have organic burgers, but they also have another store in Larkspur...which reminds me of Avatar's which has, I believe 5 or six other restaurants. They also have plastic furniture and soda, does the Citta Slow committee know about that?) Getting back to small towns and big streets and traffic, I'm wondering despite all the knee jerk reaction if having a Chevron would help PAY for those things that would help us restore that "small town" feeling, like sidewalks you can actually walk on and streets you can actually walk across without fear.
DBS January 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM
I love Fairfax specifically for the charm and the low number of mainstream businesses. I share the objection that anyone has to this Chevron based on that. Perhaps there wasn't as much objection years ago when another gas station operated there, but in recent years, we're having to work harder to keep that small town charm that we love so much. I also agree that we don't need 3 gas stations, especially since they're located within 2 blocks of each other. The station that operated in this location closed down...why would anyone want to open another station in such a risky location? I suspect that it's the STORE that is the main reason for wanting to open that station. And I object to that store for the same reason...wanting to protect the small town charm and "Mom and Pop" businesses of Fairfax. Besides, anything in that location that attracts a lot of traffic is going to really snarl things. That intersection is already too busy at times. I know that there are arguments on both sides of this issue, and I can agree with many of them on both sides. But in the end, the main objection is that we want to (1) protect the charm of this town, which is getting harder and harder to do as the years pass and (2) continue to guide Fairfax into a more ecological and earth-friendly mindset. In recent years that mindset has shifted from an underground culture into the mainstream, and Fairfax is ideally positioned as a leading example for others to follow. It's important to protect that. If WE sell out, then what message does that give to others? We need to show that our values can work. We need to be a poster-child and maintain our standards.
Michelle Simonson January 15, 2014 at 02:43 PM
A Chevron station in FAIRFAX?! There are so many reasons why this is appalling that I am astounded it is even a serious topic of conversation.
Cyndi Cady January 15, 2014 at 04:51 PM
There are already two gas stations in Fairfax. We don't need another, and we definitely don't need a mini-mart. This is FAIRFAX, people....this location could be used for so many other interesting things.
Syrah January 15, 2014 at 10:50 PM
Another day = another Good Earth rant from C. Ross. Glad to know that *some things are still predictable. Sigh.
John Ferguson January 16, 2014 at 12:03 AM
I can't believe that no one has complained about bicyclists in the comments in this post yet. It's only a matter of time..
Syrah January 16, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Don't worry John, when C. Ross comes back for more GE bashing, she'll make sure to add in some bicyclist complaints! ;)

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