Petition will decide the fate of new businesses on Arapahoe Road in Centennial

City overturned banned on drive-thrus, car dealers

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- A petition will decide the fate of new business along the busy Arapahoe Road corridor in Centennial, leaving business owners like Leslie Jacobson in the crossfire.

Last month, City Council adopted a new ordinance that lifts an 11-year ban on new drive-thrus, gas stations, car dealerships and car washes.

Once approved, residents had 30 days to file a petition against it which is exactly what two homeowners did.

"I'm not against growth, I'm against adding more of what we already have," said Centennial resident Jill Meakins, one of the women behind the petition.

Jacobson purchased a vacant building off Arapahoe Road and Havana Street with plans to transform it into her son's dream, a family owned Culver's drive-thru restaurant.

"We just wanted to bring a little of our Wisconsin to the area," she said. "When my son was eight he spent a lot of time with my dad, I'm a single mom, and they used to go to Culver's."

But now those dreams are on hold.

"Here we are, now we're up against a big brick wall," said Jacobson.

Meakins said she is not against Culver's -- but said she doesn't want yet another car dealership in her backyard.

"I'm just looking for a higher standard for our main street," said Meakins.

The people behind the petition now have until Monday to obtain 4,086 signatures, which is five percent of the registered voters in Centennial.

"If they get enough signatures, we won't be able to have our restaurant here," said Jacobson.

"I'm very confident that we will get the required signatures," Meakins said.

If the proponents are successful it will leave the city with two options: Hold a costly special election or repeal it.

"This petition could ruin it for all of us," said Jacobson.

For residents with questions about the petition, the city has set up a website with more information.

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