7-Eleven a

The plan submitted for the 24-hour 7-Eleven convenience store at West Price and Cranberry boulevards. Neighbors have opposed the special exception, but the city and developers are in arbitration.

NORTH PORT — The developer of a proposed 7-Eleven will retool plans for the store at Cranberry and West Price boulevards.

That was the decision Friday at a hearing that had lawyers for Tampa-based Weedon-North Port LLC and the city haggling over the future of the project.

Rather than come to a final decision on the site, the sides agreed to a 30-day period to allow Weedon-North Port to redesign the four-acre parcel to meet the city’s concerns over traffic and overall impact.

The next meeting was set for Nov. 20.

The two sides met before Kenneth Tinkler, a Tampa dispute resolution attorney, to reach a compromise over design of the corner property. Weedon-North Port had sought an all-night convenience store, multiple fuel pumps and a car wash. But the developers needed special waivers for the three modifications to the zoning, which permits a store with limited hours.

In February, the city’s Planning and Zoning Advisory Board had recommended waiver requests on the hours, the pumps and car wash. North Port’s Planning Division had also favored the project. Weedon-North Port even tossed in half the parcel for good measure. North Port could use it for conservation, even a park, the developers offered.

Ultimately, however, city commissioners in June gutted the waivers in a 4-1 vote after several neighbors came forward to oppose the project. The store with limited hours was the only option.

Weedon-North Port used a state process to seek a resolution or compromise, which was Friday before Tinkler at city hall. After a day of back-and-forth bartering, finding a settlement became less likely, or what Weedon-North Port lawyer Jeff Boone called “reasons not to come to an agreement. We (already) met the criteria for a special exception.”

The heart of the issue was the number of fueling pumps; Weedon wanted 12, the city would settle for eight, the car wash and its operating hours, delivery times, and the store’s hours of operation.

When the car wash and its hours became a final sticking point, the two sides settled on 30 days to allow Weedon-North Port the opportunity to shift the car wash’s placement and to possibly dampen its sound, as it would run dawn to 10 p.m.

Bradenton attorney Mark Barnebey argued on behalf of North Port, the father and son team of Jeff and Jackson Boone on behalf of Weedon. The hearing included a few dozen comments, mostly opposing the project, which City Clerk Heather Taylor read for the record. City Manager Pete Lear and Planning Division manager Nicole Galehouse provided guidance in the process.

City commissioners have the final say, however.

Tinkler in closing the hearing thanked the participants.

“Hopefully,” he said, “we made some progress.”


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