Breeze-In Grocery on Douglas Island can develop a 24-hour convenience store with fuel pumps, despite concerns by neighbors about noise and alcohol use, the Juneau Planning Commission decided Tuesday.
The current 3,000-square-foot store would be razed and a 5,000-square-foot store built in its place. The gasoline pumps, a 1,450-square-foot liquor store area and a drive-through window for the convenience store will be new. State law prohibits liquor stores from having a drive-through window.
Next-door neighbor Nina Brown said she was concerned about noise, gasoline fumes and people congregating outside the liquor store.
"I want to ask how many people would like the entrance to a liquor store within 5 feet of their primary asset?" Brown asked, meaning her home.
Breeze-In owner Al Ahlgren has worked to address concerns by neighbors, said Murray Walsh, a consultant representing Breeze-In Corp.
"We think we've gone the extra mile on this project," Walsh said.
He said the loading dock in the rear of the store will make "zero" noise, and the area will be screened with landscaping and a fence. A vapor-recovery system will be installed to mitigate gasoline fumes. Four pumps will be installed.
The commission voted unanimously, but not before debate over whether to allow a left turn from the store across traffic, and over liquor sales hours. In the end, commissioners decided to permit motorists to turn left or right out of the store - as is the case now. The state plans to install a roundabout at the intersection in front of the store to mitigate traffic congestion.
Commissioners decided liquor store hours should be in compliance with the city ordinance - 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Some commissioners had suggested stricter hours because of the proximity to Brown's house.
Tara Sidor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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