O’Reilly Auto Parts to come to Exeter

The Exeter Planning Commission reviews plans for O’Reilly’s Auto Parts on Visalia Road. Photo by Karis Caddell.(Karis Waddell)

After discussing the plans for the construction of an O’Reilly Auto Parts in Exeter, the business can get on with its building permit now that it has its approval from the city’s planning commission

EXETER – O’Reilly Auto Parts can drive into Exeter now that the planning commission approved their plans to move in on Visalia Road.

On Thursday, Sept. 21 the Exeter Planning Commission met to decide whether or not to approve the addition of O’Reilly Auto Parts store on Visalia Road. The commission approved the plans for the store’s debut in the community, along with a couple of other additional amendments to the store’s plans, so now the business’ developers can get the permits needed to get started on construction.

At the commission’s meeting, talk about the upcoming business’ parking lot raised concern amongst the commission. Commissioners shared their thoughts about how the entrance to the parking lot could impact the flow of traffic on Visalia Road.

“We’re not really giving (customers) any options other than to go past Dollar (General),” Commissioner Nancy Becker said. “Maybe (I’m thinking) of it more as a business owner.”

Assistant city planner Tristan Suire presents plans for O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to the Exeter Planning Commission. Photo by Karis Caddell.

However, to address this, assistant city planner Tristian Suire said city staff is going to extend the roads Palm Street and Jacob Place so they intersect. The road median already on Jacob Place near the Taco Bell will be shortened to allow the construction of a mountable curb as a way to allow drivers to drive directly into the parking lot from the street after the road is continued.

If this were not done, O’Reilly customers would have to make a U-turn at the anticipated intersection of Jacob Place and Palm Street before turning into the parking lot. The design of the curb is still up in the air, but could include options such as colored stamped concrete or exposed river rock and concrete to create a hardscape surface so vehicles can drive over the median and access the parking lot.

The commission approved the plans for the new O’Reilly location with the amendment that the median separating the two lanes be shortened; that way, instead of continuing down the road to the intersection, customers can instead take the mountable curb into the parking lot from the southern entrance off of Jacob Place.

On top of the mountable curb amendment, the commission also voted to amend the plans to require that a parcel map be recorded prior to the occupancy of the store, rather than the issuance of a building permit.

Prior to the commission’s Sept. 21 meeting, the original design of the O’Reilly store was sent back for revisions because it didn’t have enough character for the town. According to Suire, the initial design for the building was too “boxy,” “generic” and “cookie-cutter” looking in consideration to what the town was looking for.

After a couple of slight revisions to the building design were complete, the design that was presented at the recent meeting is the design that is coming to the city. The business has a year to acquire a building permit before they start construction on Visalia Road, but it is likely that they will start before this year is over.

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