A Wednesday night work session was called to let two Port Royal council members find out how a design decision on a Parker's gas station was made.
It ended with a plan that might move the project to the next step.
Tom Klein and Mary Beth Gray Heyward have called for a closed-door meeting Nov. 6 with the three other council members on the station proposed for the intersection of Paris Avenue and Ribaut Road.
Council could make a decision afterward that meeting. That decision could involve a new vote on a mediation plan council previously voted against to giving its attorney guidance on how to proceed in mediation.
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"We're going to come up with something nobody is happy with, but everyone can live with," town attorney Mary Lohr cautioned.
Plans for the store stalled after council denied the most recent, mediated agreement with Parker's and developers on Oct. 9.
The town and developers have disagreed on the number of gas pumps, placement of the building on the property and design of the canopy. Council issues have also included traffic patterns, safety and building appearance.
Town consultant Cooter Ramsey said his biggest issue is the "massive amount of hard, ugly, concrete surface."
Parker's attorney Walter Nester said it's been difficult to know what changes will appease the town.
"It has been somewhat of a moving target for us," he said. "That's not a criticism of the town or staff, but it is a moving target."
The town's Design Review Board and Parker's representatives formally met to discuss plans four times, beginning in December, town planner Linda Bridges said. Special exemptions allow businesses such as gas stations to have design options that are more flexible than town code would otherwise allow, board chairman Andy Corriveau said.
"I think we're 70 percent outside of what normally would be required if anyone else was building there, and I think we came to a good compromise," he said.
Lohr said the exemptions are there for a reason.
"Exceptional use is exceptional because it's something that a town realizes is part of their community, but is not going to fit into an area," she said. "We can make them try to blend in as well as we can, but recognize as a business model they are never going to blend in completely."
Developer Pinckney Enterprises filed a lawsuit in May requesting mediation over the plan, upset by the design board's approval of a plan with six instead of eight gas pumps. That led to a series of mediation attempts.
A first round of mediation led to Town Council voting against canopy designs.
The second round led to it to vote against a plan that had eight pumps -- instead of the six approved by the design board -- divided under two canopies.
Lohr has said Parker's options include agreeing to build according to the review board plan, agreeing to more to mediation, continuing legal action or abandoning the project. Nester said Parker's remains committed to building the station at the intersection.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.
- Port Royal Council denies Parker's gas station compromise, Oct. 9, 2013
- Council considers new design for Parker's station proposal, Oct. 2, 2013
- Port Royal to return to mediation with Parker's, developer for gas station, Aug. 14, 2013
- Port Royal council denies canopy redesigns for gas station, July 17, 2013