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Controversial Gas Station Plans Meet Resistance at City Hall

by Tess Reiss and Jan Christensen Mixed Reaction from Neighborhood There may be a change in store for the gas station at the corner of Holton and Burleigh. Plans for the reconstruction of the building were presented to the neighborhood at a meeting held Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. The proposed building is a single story building of split-face cement block set back from the street. Plans included the razing of the building directly west of the existing station. The new station would have a small inside area where customers could stand while paying for their gas, or while waiting for food, which would be prepared on site. However, the plans did not include any convenience store or area where customers could come in to shop. At the Riverwest Neighborhood Association meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 17, photos of Mr. Mian’s gas station and office headquarters at 46th Street and Forest Home were viewed and discussed. The building at that site is constructed of variegated brick, and features large glass windows, double doors, sloped canopies with brick pillars, a low-level sign, and extensive attractive landscaping. These photos convinced the group that Mr. Mian is capable of a better design than the one currently proposed for the Holton Street site. There was agreement among those who were in attendance at the meeting that, although everyone is pleased that a new building is in the works, there was a need to look to the future of Holton Street. Any new building needs to be planned to fit in with the improvements already coming to the area. The group expressed a preference for better materials, such as brick, to be used on the exterior of the building. There was also a preference for a walk-around convenience store, similar to those already existing in the gas stations at Holton and Keefe, 3rd and Locust, and Humboldt and North, rather than a restricted glassed-in lobby area. These upgrades are thought to be necessary, especially in light of recent and upcoming major investments in the area, such as the major upgrades of Gordon Park, the new Lena’s Grocery Store on Holton Street, the repaving of Center Street, upcoming improvements to Kilbourn/Reservoir Park, and the new development on Commerce Street. Ald. Mike D’Amato has stated that he will oppose the plans as they now stand, and Mr. Mian has declared that he will withdraw all plans if he meets with neighborhood opposition. As this issue of the Currents goes to press, uncertainty remains concerning the outcome of this question. A public hearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA) will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26, concerning the plans for a new gas station to be built at 3105 N. Holton St. by Mr. Riaz Mian and the Mian Oil Company. For results of the meeting, please see our update online at riverwestcurrents.org.
by Tess Reiss and Jan Christensen