Town Planning Emergency Station, Store

Lehi, Utah, would take over site in crisis to secure fuel supply

LEHI, Utah -- To ensure a supply of gasoline in an emergency, Lehi, Utah, near Salt Lake City, is planning to build a convenience store and lease it to a private owner, reported the local Daily Herald.

The fuel in reserve would be owned by the city to be used during a natural catastrophe, terrorist attack, any number of things, Robert Fox, a consultant hired by the city for the project, told the newspaper. If that should happen...the city would automatically take over the facility.

City leaders fear that during a regional gasoline [image-nocss] or diesel shortage, empty fuel tanks in the city's ambulances, fire trucks, police cars and power trucks would leave the city paralyzed.

The concept has been approved by the planning commission, Councilman Mark Johnson told the paper. A preliminary design is now being done and once a business is found to lease the store, a final design, including financing, will go before the City Council for approval.

It isn't a c-store that the city will run, it will be run like an everyday business, Councilman Stephen Holbrook told the Herald. Whoever leases it will not have any more advantages than any other c-store in Lehi.

Larger cities build and maintain their own municipal fuel depots, but for smaller governments the cost can be prohibitive, Johnson said. We toyed with the idea of how to better prepare the city for a fuel supply in case of an emergency, he said. This gives us the ability without having to manage the facility.

The cost of building a c-store, excluding management and maintenance expenses, would be about $800,000, Fox said.

Preliminary plans include a basement communications center that would become an emergency command post during a crisis, an emergency generator and oversized fuel tanks that would allow the city to keep a continuous reserve of 20,000 gallons, enough to last the city 30 days.

The privately run business would repay the city for the cost of the building over time through a lease agreement, Holbrook said. The city would use the store for everyday fuel service and purchasing fuel for city vehicles at wholesale prices.

The business owner would take care of the maintenance and management of the store, he added.