Kirkwood will be getting a bigger, fancier gas station at North Geyer and Manchester roads, but not everybody is happy about it.
More than 50 residents attended Thursday night's meeting of Kirkwood City Council to protest the expansion of the at the busy intersection.
The expansion would increase the number of islands at the station from four to eight and include a new convenience store. Wallis Companies, which owns the station, anticipate a 100 percent increase in gas revenue and a 50 percent increase in convenience store revenue.
Ten residents addressed council about the development during Thursday's public comments section of the meeting.
Many expressed concerns about noise and congestion. But every resident, including architect Roger Manwaring, who lives directly behind the station, cited traffic as their primary concern.
"How can they say that they are getting an 100 percent increase in gas, but that it won't adversely affect traffic? That's twice as many people going in and out of a station on a very busy intersection," Manwaring said.
Manwaring said his primary concern was the lack of a traffic study. He told council that he felt the process was rushed to expedite the development.
"We know this project is expensive," Manwaring said. "They are purchasing and demolishing an adjacent building to construct this thing. How much would a traffic study cost in the grand scheme of things?"
Other residents, like Kristy Hart of Simmons Avenue, spoke about the concern for her family.
"My son plays in our yard on Simmons. Will he be safe with all these cars zooming in and out of this place? He asked me the other day, 'Mom, will I be able to walk to school with this thing here?' And I didn't know what to tell him. So what do I tell him?" Hart asked councilors.
Bob Schmidt, of Kirkwood, told councilors he had circulated a petition with nearly 400 signatures opposing the development from individuals in the vicinity of the gas station.
After listening to residents' concerns, the petitioner from Wallis Companies assured the council that all concerns had been met and that Wallis Companies had made every attempt to fit within the confines of the needs of Kirkwood.
The measure passed in a 4-3 vote. Council members Biedenstein, Jaksetic and Sears voted against the measure.
"If this isn't going to adversely affect the community, as the (Wallis Companies) has implied, then why is the entire community here tonight to oppose it?" Schmidt said.
Editor's Note: This article has been corrected to reflect statements attributed to the petitioner representing Wallis Companies and the number of presenters during the public comments section of the meeting.