Mission Viejo Planning Commission challenge

On Mission Viejo’s Planning and Transportation Commission Agenda for this coming Monday is a Public Hearing on converting an ARCO service station into a 24 hour am/pm convenience store and gas station. It will be interesting to watch the Commission deliberate on this Public Hearing involving both property rights and public safety. The exact agenda text follows below.

This existing ARCO station is located at the intersection of La Paz and Marguerite, diagonally across from our Mission Viejo City library. Let’s begin by acknowledging that we already have an existing ARCO am/pm less than one mile away on the same street at La Paz and Muirlands (adjacent to Interstate 5) which has become a late night hang out and breeding grounds for transients.

Gilbert comment. Regardless of the outcome of the Public Hearing this service station  is long overdue for a facelift.

Traffic implications. Check out the increased traffic at the converted ARCO am/pm station at Alicia and Jeronimo as the commission discusses this request for one of the busiest intersections in our city. Has the potential increase in traffic been taken under consideration?

As to public safety, a well publicized priority of our city, here are some other facts to consider. Aside from having a pre school right next door, Newhart Middle school children stop in to buy snacks on their way to and from school that is only two blocks away. Should they be exposed to potential underage purchase or sharing of beer and wine coolers?
If someone wants to buy liquor, a 24 hour Ralph’s supermarket is located in the same shopping center. The difference is that Ralph’s employees may monitor beer and wine sales closer than the local convenient store.

Convenience to our senior community. This centrally located station is a state authorized Smog Inspection location that also provides safety checks and oil changes for many of our residents. If this station is converted to an am/pm those services will no longer be performed for the thousands of residents in the nearby Casta del Sol community. The 76 station (closer to Casta) on Marguerite and Trabuco, which previously offered similar services, has already been converted eliminating their Smog Testing services.

Business motivation. These convenience store locations are not getting rich on the sale of their “loss leader” hot dogs and burgers. Their reward is in the rebates from their sale of beer and wine.

Property rights. What about the current operator should this request be approved? Loss of business during the conversion and other costs that we are not aware of. Does he or she support the applicant’s request?
Stay tuned for the Commission’s action next week.



 Planned Development Permit PDP2010-222, Conditional Use Permit CUP2010-279, and Variance VAR2010-38, being petitions submitted by Fred Cohen of CJC Design, Inc., agent for BP West Coast Products, to demolish an existing service station and construct a new 2,400 sq. ft. ARCO am/pm convenience store with five fueling dispensers covered by a canopy structure at 25122 Marguerite Parkway, in the CC (Commercial Community) zone.  The conditional use permit application pertains to the operation of a 24-hour convenience store with the on-site sale of beer and wine. The variance application pertains to modification of building setback standards.

About Larry Gilbert