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Rincon approves plans for O'Reilly's
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Rincon City Council OK’d preliminary plans for an O’Reilly’s Auto Parts franchise, as long as engineers can attest to the site being clean.

Developers and engineers were asked previously by the council to address two address, specifically the access to and exit from the property and just what had been underground on the site before.

Paul Engel with Anderson Engineering said the state Department of Transportation was going to make their entrance a right turn in and right turn out only onto Highway 21.

“I think that benefits everybody in the community,” he said.

The DOT did not require a deceleration lane because of the store’s expected low traffic counts. Engel said there also are limitations on the land that could be turned into a decel lane because of neighboring property.

“I know it’s an awkward site,” he said. “But in our conversations with the DOT, this was the compromise they were happy with.”

Engel said the turn into the store would be a 30-foot radius, rather than a 10-foot radius. But council members still worried about the impact on traffic not having a decel lane would have.

“I’m still uncomfortable with no decel lane,” Council member Lamar Crosby said. “Our city hall is a traffic accident waiting to happen. The front entrance is so tight, you back up traffic. There’s a whole lot of traffic, and it’s getting heavier every day.”

Engel also said their soil analysts did not detect anything underground, though a gas station may have been on the site in the 1960s and 1970s. Engel said his talks with a neighbor to the proposed store location revealed the tanks may have been removed in the 1980s and 1990s.

Crosby asked if the state Environmental Protection Division has a record of that. Engel said they would be willing to do a second phase to make sure no fuel tanks were left in the ground.

“Our preliminary information says it’s clean,” he said. “But don’t give us a building permit until we prove it to you. If there is a potential issue, we don’t want to hide it.”

Engel said his firm has done more than 700 O’Reilly’s stores in 26 states. The franchise, based in Missouri, has more than 1,650 locations.

Council members also approved helping out the Lions Club Christmas parade with advertising costs, but members also wondered how much they’ll have to give in the future.

The Lions Club asked city council for $1,000 to defray the cost of advertising. Council members approved the request, perhaps reluctantly.

“They said if we gave them $1,000, they wouldn’t ask for that this year,” Council member Paul Wendelken said, recalling last year’s funding request. “That was a one-time deal.”

“That was my recollection, that they wouldn’t need us next year,” Council member Levi Scott added.

Wendelken also questioned the potential costs for overtime for police and sanitation workers.

Yet council members also saw the benefits from the parade and the exposure it brings with it.

“I’m not opposed to $1,000 or $750,” Council member Scott Morgan said. “It’s a parade I go to every year. When people go, they think of us.”

City Attorney Raymond Dickey said the money could not go directly to the Lions Club, which is why the club asks for help with advertising.

“In my opinion, if we were going to be spending money on something as beneficial as this is, I would rather be spending it toward the cost of the parade, rather than $1,000 for newspaper advertising,” Mayor Ken Lee said.