Atlantic Boulevard Gas Station Opponents Again Pack AB Commission Chambers

Island Times - By Tom Patton   Mon, Feb 08, 2016

Urge Commissioners To Send Proposal To The Community Development Board For Consideration

Residents of Atlantic Beach opposed to the Gate Petroleum convenience store planned on Atlantic Boulevard again packed the Atlantic Beach Commission Chamber Monday night to express their concerns about the proposed gas station.

Beach Diner owner Barry Adeeb said that there is documentation of the variance that was granted to the restaurant 19 years ago making it part of the adjacent shopping center. Adeeb said that under the city's code, the variance is part of the deed, and transferrable. That variance grants 61 parking spaces to the Diner, one space for every two seats at the 120-seat restaurant.

Former Atlantic Beach Mayor Don Wolfson, who chaired the Community Development Board at the time the variance was granted, it was determined that the property on which the diner is located is not an out parcel, but was included as a part of the shopping center.

Other speakers pointed out that the city commission has the authority to put the issue in front of the current community development board, and implored the commission to do just that, even if the CDB came back with a judgement that is not in their favor.

A community group has collected nearly 1,000 petitions in the past two weeks opposing the construction of a gas station and convenience store on the property. 

While most said they were not opposed to the company, but that the convenience store with as many as 14 fueling stations is not the best use for the property.

Drew Frick, an attorney representing Gate Petroleum, said that the dispute between Adeeb and Gate is just that, a private dispute. The variance was not specific about parking, and nothing in the variance addresses parking. "We have attorneys working on that in a court of law, and we urge you to let that court do its work," Frick said.

Frick urged the commission to "follow your process, and let that process play out. We'd like for that process to continue and reach its conclusion."

Frick said that during the meeting there had been some insinuation that things had been done "under the table", but that is not the case. "We have been nothing but above board with two commissions," he said, adding that the store that was being designed to be safe and in keeping with the character of the community.

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