Despite public protest Atlantic Beach approves new gas station

Gate: The gas station would have 7 pumps, 6,400 sq. ft. convenience store


ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – The Atlantic Beach City Commission unanimously approved a new Gate gas station Thursday with a 5-0 vote.

The newly approved gas station looks to put seven pumps and a 6,400-square-foot convenience store in a small space next to Beach Diner on Atlantic Boulevard.

This has been a hot button issue in the community. People who live there say adding this gas station would not only compromise safety in the area, others said it would drive down property values.

That’s why Gate hosted an open house last month to hear the concerns of the community. A group called Atlantic Beach Cares is against the gas station.

"We don't want this to be built," said Susan Perry with Atlantic Beach Cares. "Most of the people are against it. They can see what's going to happen. It will destroy the neighborhood."

With signs in hand, Perry and Susanne Barker of Atlantic Beach Cares aren't afraid to show they're not here to mince words.

"What's the point? Why would anyone think this is the place for a gas station is beyond my comprehension? It simply is not a good idea," said Perry. "Gasoline stations are going to be obsolete in 20 or 30 years because electric cars are really starting to come. Tesla has introduced a $35,000 electric car that will get 210 miles per charge."

"We have over 2,000 people who have signed a petition against this," said Susanne Barker with Atlantic Beach Cares.

At last month's open house, representatives from Gate met with community members at Adele Grage Cultural Center in Atlantic Beach. It was a chance for everyone to talk facts, figures, and concerns.

For Perry and Barker one of those concerns is property value.

"The real estate appraiser said that. he estimated that property values would go down about 20 percent. Because, who wants to live across the street from a gas station?” said Perry.

Barker and Perry said most things would work in the spot instead of the gas station. They want to see something that wouldn't bring in a bunch of extra traffic.

“We really are looking for feedback from the residents to give them information about the facts related to the project and also hear from them and answer any questions that they have," GATE Petroleum spokesperson Misty Skipper said. "What we’re doing is trying to create that two-way dialogue so we can find out any concerns they have, potentially look to address any of those concerns, and also make sure that they’re dealing in facts. What we have designed here is a neighborhood store. Its been designed by an Atlantic Beach architect to fit the character and the community here. And also it’s significantly smaller than what we’d put in on intestates or the Town Center. It’s being designed specifically for this area."

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