How many gas stations are too many?

Residents of Atlantic Beach asking for outright ban on more stations

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - The latest community to push back against a proposed gas station/convenience store is Atlantic Beach, were residents now want an outright ban on the mini-markets.

A new multi-pump gas station being built on Atlantic Boulevard by the back gate of the Atlantc Bech County Club prompted calls for a ban on any more of these businesses.

"We didn’t really know they were going to build a gas station so close to where we live," resident David Tait said. "Then, obviously, the concern over (the) lighting and traffic it’s going to bring, and that’s already there. Mayport Road’s a really busy, crazy road.  And I don’t know there’s really a shortage of gas stations."

News4Jax found seven gas stations within a few miles of where the new station is going in.

City Hall has begun listening to residents on the subject. Mayor Ellen Glasser said some of them are passionate.

"We had several residents that spoke out and said we should consider a ban on gas stations," Glasser said. "We’re not about no gas stations in Atlantic Beach, but should there be a limit?  We are going to listen to the residents before we move forward on this, and this will be something we talk about in our commission meetings."

Atlantic Beach isn’t the first to see fights against new gas station complexes. Residents in St. Augustine and Julington Creek both fought off new, big gas stations in recent years. About 1,500 residents of petitioned St. Johns County commissioners asking them to stop Buc-ee's from building the Texas chain's fist mega-station on International Golf Parkway just off Interstate 95.

Not everyone favors an outright ban on gas stations. Jeff Ritchie said the new stations should be be allowed if they are appropriate in the community where they are built.

"I don’t know about a blanket ban, but we need to have a discussion," Ritchie said. He did oppose the Gate station going in on, 'No, not with how big and monstrous it is. It doesn’t fit with the décor."

Atlantic Beach currently has a temporary moratorium on any new gas stations, and the city will discuss in coming weeks its long-term plan.

Eventually City Hall will decide on how many more gas pumps will be allow on Atlantic Boulevard and Mayport Road.

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