Hearing set for gas station limits
A proposed change to Fort Wayne’s zoning ordinance could curb the number of new gas stations built within the city limits.
The Fort Wayne Plan Commission will hold a public hearing Monday on the proposed amendment. According to documents provided by the Department of Planning Services, if approved, the proposal would reduce the number of zoning categories that allow gas stations, either as a permitted or special use.
“What I’m trying to do there is codify the fact that convenience stores and gas stations are an inconvenience to the neighborhoods and we want to make it more difficult to come into our neighborhoods and set up shop,” City Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, said.
If approved by the Plan Commission and the Fort Wayne City Council, the ordinance change would take effect April 1.
There are 22 gas stations alone in the 6th District Hines represents. In District 3, represented by Councilman Tom Didier, there are 36. Hines, who has been a vocal critic of new gas station developments for years, said many gas stations and convenience stores are “nothing more than predatory retail outlets for candy, cigarettes and stuff that’s bad.” The stores do nothing, Hines said, to alleviate the food desert that exists in parts of the 6th District.
“In my district, there are 22 highly concentrated gas stations on just about every corner and some are looking to get into more residential areas,” Hines said. “That’s what spurred me to try to get some legislation changed to make that more difficult.”
For Didier, the issue is more about aesthetics than price-gouging. Didier said he’d like to see requirements put in place that would make gas stations and similar buildings more visually pleasing and in line with neighborhood aesthetics.
“Let’s make them more compatible for the neighborhoods,” Didier said. “We want to be able to have competition and be pro-business, but at the same time we need to make it so they’re not these big monster (gas stations). But people also have to use their own judgment on what they’re buying.”