The Westminster planning commission unanimously approved plans for a downtown Jiffy Mart last night.
Stanley H. "Jack" Tevis III, who plans to build a gasoline station, convenience store and Subway sandwich franchise at the corner of West Main and Carroll streets, made some changes to fit in with the historic neighborhood and allay residents' concerns.
But Mr. Tevis said last night that he plans to install a message board sign similar to those at other Jiffy Mart stores he owns.
Pennsylvania Avenue resident Ronald Anderson criticized the lighted signs that bear such messages as, "Congratulations, Bill and Betty."
"I don't think we need that on our Main Street," he said.
Mr. Anderson's wife, Phyllis, vice president of a residents' association called Neighbors United, said she appreciated Mr. Tevis' willingness to meet with the group and his openness to suggestions.
She reiterated neighbors' concerns: increased traffic, safety for children at an adjoining day care center, possible loitering around the store.
Mr. Tevis listed changes he had made in response to comments from neighbors and members of the city's historic district commission: brick facade rather than concrete block, reduced height of sign from 20 to 8 feet and reduced wattage of lights.
Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Lawrence Wiskeman said the major objection he had heard was to the brightness of lights that typically surround gasoline stations and convenience stores.
City Planning Director Thomas B. Beyard said the canopy lights will focus downward. Mr. Tevis said that if the lights prove to be a problem for neighbors, he will consider installing shields to direct the beams back to the station lot.
The owner said he had been told by one neighbor that she is afraid of the dark, not the light, and will be grateful when the vacant lot is again occupied.