Proposed expansion at Albuquerque gas station concerns residents

It’s the case of the little guy taking on a big corporation, and the little guy may win. People are trying to stop a gas station from expanding, and so far, the city is siding with the neighborhood.

“It’s all very quiet and beautiful, and we’d just like to maintain that. We want to maintain a very serene quiet neighborhood,” says Diane Bessera.

Beserra has lived near Bridge and Old Coors for 32 years. A lot has changed in three decades, but she doesn’t want to see her neighborhood’s charm disappear.

“We’re definitely going to fight with everything we got,” she says.

Back in April, the city’s Planning and Zoning Department got a request from the owners of the gas station to re-zone the property from mixed use to non-residential commercial.

“It would allow them to add additional gas pumps. They’re also proposing to put in a new convenience store that would include liquor sales,” says Brennon Williams with CABQ Planning and Zoning.

Beserra and others who live nearby say selling liquor at that intersection would just increase crime and bring down the value of their homes.

“There’s several places to get alcohol. I don’t see why we need another additional place to get alcohol,” she says.

Beserra also believes it would bring more traffic problems in the area.

“The traffic. Oh my gosh. The traffic is just really, really bad,” she says.

The gas station’s property owner met with neighbors. In a letter to the city, the owner said he would address traffic concerns by moving the entrance and exit further away from the intersection as to not block it.

He would also keep liquor in a controlled area away from the main entrance.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Department say those recommendations still are not good enough, which is why they recommend the Environmental Planning Commission deny the proposal.

“We just don’t feel that it meets the criteria for approval,” says Williams.

Even though the Planning and Zoning Department wants to deny the proposal, the Environmental Planning Commission has the final say. They will make their decision next Thursday.

Whatever the EPC decides, either side can file an appeal. It will then be heard by city council.

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