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Council yellow-flags Asheville Hwy Gas Express

Council approved a new Gas Express at Ingles on Asheville Highway but said no to a new entrance for it. Council approved a new Gas Express at Ingles on Asheville Highway but said no to a new entrance for it.

The Hendersonville City Council on Thursday said yes to a new Gas Express at the Asheville Highway Ingles but shot down a new entrance that the supermarket officials said is needed for orderly traffic flow.

The council's action would permit Ingles to go forward with the gas station at the supermarket at 1980 Asheville Highway. But on a 3-2 vote council killed a motion by Councilman Steve Caraker to allow the third entrance with a dedicated right-turn lane. Councilman Ron Stephens voted with Caraker. Mayor Barbara Volk and councilmen Jerry Smith and Jeff Collis voted no.

Ingles officials said afterwards they could not comment on whether the council's rejection of the new driveway jeopardizes the project. Ingles wanted the third entrance and the Planning Board recommended a tapered right-only stacking lane to reduce the chance of a backup from right-turning traffic.
Council members and the Ingles representatives had opposite views of which option was safer. Ingles said the third entrance was needed to prevent congestion of increased gas pump traffic and grocery store traffic entering and leaving at the same driveway. Volk said the third entrance would create a backup on northbound Asheville Highway.
"I don't see it as a safety feature," she said. "I see it as backing up more traffic on Asheville Highway from the south."
The gas station would include eight fueling stations, a 3,300-square-foot canopy and an attendant kiosk.
In authorizing the project, the council approved an amendment to the original special-use permit for the 64,500-square-foot store, which was issued in February 1998. In the 3-2 vote the council turned down a variance from the city land-use code requirement limiting developments to two driveway entrances; Ingles already has an entrance in the center and one on the north end.
The Planning Board had voted 5-2 to recommend the variance and unanimously for the special use permit amendment.
Ingles now has 74 gas stations and at most of them has three entrances off a main road to accommodate the extra traffic the low-price gas draw, the Ingles officials told the council.