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Gainesville City Council approves Thompson Bridge Road gas station
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A Clipper Petroleum gas station and convenience store could be coming to a site of Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville. (Rendering from Gainesville city documents)

Update, Dec. 15: The Gainesville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, Dec. 15 to approve a gas station and convenience store to fill an empty lot on Thompson Bridge Road.

The Clipper Petroleum station, across from the Publix shopping center, will cover 1.1 acres, including a vacant lot at 1261 Thompson Bridge Road and a lot at 150 Christopher Drive that now has a home.

Original story: A proposed Clipper Petroleum gas station off Thompson Bridge Road in Gainesville was recommended for denial Tuesday, Nov. 10, by the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board. 

“There is a concern ... of reaching into a residential neighborhood,” board Chairman Doug Carter said. “There’s been a concern about that through the years with the city.” 

The development, across from the Publix-anchored shopping center, would cover 1.1 acres, including a vacant lot at 1261 Thompson Bridge Road, next to Honey Baked Hams, and a lot now occupying a ranch brick house at 150 Christopher Drive

As part of the project, which now goes before the Gainesville City Council for a final vote, Clipper is seeking to rezone the lot with the house from residential to neighborhood business. The house would be torn down as part of the project, according to a city of Gainesville planning report. 

“Can you do a convenience store project ... if you do not have the additional piece of property that’s being asked to be rezoned?” Carter asked Tom Bower of Clipper Petroleum. 

“No, sir, we cannot do that,” Bower said. 

City planning officials are recommending denial, as well, “due to further encroachment within the established single-family neighborhood,” said Matt Tate, deputy director of community and economic development, at the meeting. 

Clipper’s plans call for a 4,500-square-foot convenience store featuring six fueling stations with two pumps at each station.  

The Thompson Bridge lot “has been vacant for years, and a former convenience store has been removed,” states a letter to the city from Gainesville lawyer Steve Gilliam concerning the project. A “large billboard sign” would also be removed.  

If the project is approved, Clipper Petroleum will close a store it owns at 1180 Thompson Bridge Road and “deed-restrict it upon the sale or lease that it cannot be used as a convenience store with fuel pumps,” Gilliam said.