Council hears debate over gas station expansion

First Posted: 1/9/2015

LIMA — On paper, a second reading for legislation concerning vacating a portion of Boyer Street may not seem controversial. However, at the Jan. 5 Lima City Council meeting, this agenda item brought a great deal of discussion and debate.

The legislation would allow for Boyer Street between Findlay Avenue and Flanders Avenue to be torn down, making the two lots on either side of that street one to allow for an expansion of the Fuel Stop gas station, located at 603 Findlay Ave.

The point of contention concerned what was sold in the gas station. During the Jan. 5 meeting, Councilman Jesse Lowe II mentioned that several residents in the area objected to the sales of glass pipes and other items that could potentially be used as drug paraphernalia.

“While I understand that they do have the right to sell what they want to sell, I’m voting the way that the residents asked me to vote,” he said during the meeting. “A lot of residents felt they were not things they simply did not want in the neighborhood.”

Similar objections were raised by councilmen Derry Glenn and Todd Gordon, who voted along with Lowe against the legislation.

“My thing was that I was supporting the people of the neighborhood,” Gordon said. “I do believe some of their issues were with what they sold.”

Council President John Nixon voiced his support for the legislation, arguing that hindering local businesses because of what they sell can set a bad precedent.

“What’s next? Do we stop supporting expansion of gas stations because gas can be used by the wrong people for arson?” he said. “Do we stop businesses who legally sell alcohol because it can be abused?”

Mike Flynn, the construction manager for the project, took these concerns back to the owners, Amazing Clark LLC, after the first reading of the motion in December.

“They told me that they didn’t think it would be an issue because they weren’t going to carry those items anymore,” he said. “On top of that, they were going to be branded Marathon and they will not allow those types of products to be marketed in their stores.”

The items in question have since been taken off the shelf at the gas station, according to Flynn.

“I have not been over there myself, but I believe that as of Tuesday, they quit selling those products totally and they are all gone,” he said. “In one respect, Mr. Lowe’s already won because the products are gone.”

Gordon plans on waiting until he hears from residents in that area before deciding whether he will support the motion at the next council meeting.

“Knowing what we know now about the Marathon deal, it might change some of their minds, but I don’t want to speak for anybody,” he said. “I think it will be good for people in that area. I really do.”

Lowe could not be reached for additional comment.

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