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People favor proposed gas station zoning rule changes

Gas stations owners feel the proposal unfairly targets them.

Posted: Jan 7, 2019 10:43 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Fort Wayne is amending its zoning rules to make it harder to open a new gas station.

The changes would limit zoning variances granted to people building new gas stations, but gas station owners said the proposal unfairly targets them.

There are currently 22 gas stations on the southeast side of Fort Wayne.

Four of them are on the two mile stretch of Oxford Street.

"They're building more convenience stores than they are houses in my area," said Mildred Chapman.

"It's too many. That doesn't make any sense. Every other corner you go to is a gas station," said Davon Draughan.

Fort Wayne's city council initiated the change back in November.

The proposal would cut the number of zoning categories gas stations would be allowed to operate.

However, gas station owners feel that rule won't be fair.

"We're being singled out. They're making the ordinance so it is impossible for us to get a special use on a c-2 property," said Jim Burns, who develops gas stations across northeast Indiana.

Councilman Glynn Hines says this has been an issue the 20 year's he's represented the area.

He would like like to see something addressing the food desert in the area and making it affordable.

"A lot of predatory, high priced items. No fresh meat, no fresh vegetables," he said.

Burns says convenience stores and gas stations could make the necessary changes to fill the void.

"Maybe we can force more fruits and vegetables in stores," said Burns.

The Fort Wayne Planning Commission is expected to vote on its recommendation about the zoning rule changes next week.

City council will have the final approval.

If the changes are approved, they take effect April 1.

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