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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 9:00 pm

Council OKs zoning changes that could limit new gas stations

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne City Council approved changes tonight to the city's zoning ordinance that could limit where new gas stations are built. 

The measure, approved by an of 8-1 vote, was proposed by Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th. The ordinance was held for two weeks while council members worked out a compromise with the gas station industry.

As a result of negotiations involving several councilmen, the council approved an amended version Hines said satisfies all involved. 

Under the amendment approved Tuesday, new gas station developments would be allowed to apply for a special use, except when the site in question is adjacent to or across the street from residential homes. 

City Council will have final approval over those special use applications, Hines said.

"It accomplished what we wanted to and that is to have a lesser impact on the neighborhoods and still maintain what the Department of Planning Services has recommended, to a degree, as related to limiting non-conforming examples and then allowing special uses," Hines said. 

Because the ordinance was amended, it will return to the Fort Wayne Plan Commission for final approval before being sent to Mayor Tom Henry's desk for signature. 

Hines' original ordinance would only permit new gas stations in areas of the city previously zoned for commercial use. New gas stations, under the original plan, would not have been approved for special uses in several zoning districts: neighborhood center, downtown edge, limited commercial, limited industrial and general industrial.  

Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, was the sole vote against the ordinance. 

"I think that the public does support the idea that the convenience stores nestled in a neighborhood should have additional elected official oversight, but at the same time I think all of us want to make sure that they have an adequate incentive to locate in commercial areas, which is the preference," Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, said.