Space Age expansion approval process


Last updated 2/28/2023 at Noon

An artist’s rendering of the proposed expansion of Space Age Gas in Sisters. RENDERING PROVIDED

Opponents of the Space Age fueling modernization are apt to be frustrated when lobbying City Hall. As the plans do not request any code variances nor change in designated land use, such as from commercial to residential or vice versa, neither the Planning Commission nor City Council will have to rule on the application per se.

City Planner Matthew Martin confirmed to The Nugget that the application by Pliska Investments falls under municipal code 4.1.200 section B Type II Procedure (Administrative). Type II decisions are made by the community development director or a designee with public notice, and an opportunity for a public hearing if appealed. The appeal of a Type II decision is heard by the Planning Commission.

With that said, Martin expects a usual rigorous review that will ensure the application meets all existing building and development codes, including with respect to dark skies. The City has an outdoor lighting ordinance in the Sisters Development Code – Section 2.15.400, which was adopted in 2010 and contains requirements for outdoor lighting that applies to all new building and development in town and provides a timeframe for bringing existing, nonconforming lighting into conformance.

Jim Pliska of Space Age said, “We will fully comply with every aspect of the code and cooperate fully with the City. Nothing in the code as it exists stands in the way of our vision.”

As Space Age is located in the core district, it must also meet the requirement of section 2.15.2600 Western Frontier Architectural Design Theme.

A. Purpose. The purpose of the 1880s Western Frontier Architectural Design Theme is to improve the city’s image and visual appearance. It has also been developed with the desire to establish city identity and interest and to attract visitors and tourists in support of a significant community economy.

B. Applicability. The Western Frontier Architectural Design Theme applies to all new, reconstructed or remodeled uses in all Commercial Districts. Each proposed development is required to complete land use review process subject to the following standards. All designs must comply with all applicable Building and Fire Codes.

Pliska’s application includes renderings shown here with a look he believes passes the test.

The chorus of opposition is growing, and those concerned about the scale of the expansion will have a heavy lift to bypass the process. Appeals are possible pursuant to section 4.1.800, but require more than showing up at Planning Commission or City Council meetings or demonstrating at City Hall. To succeed, an appeal must demonstrate that the application fails to meet land use planning requirements.


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