The Shell gas station at the intersection of Georgia Avenue, Upshur Street and Kansas Avenue has been the subject of recent media attention because of a moratorium on the sale of service stations in the District. A group of Petworth business owners sent a letter to the D.C. Council in support of redevelopment of the gas station site to create more housing density in the neighborhood.
WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle published an article about the Shell service station on Jan. 4: “Once A Gas Station, Always A Gas Station? D.C. Sued Over Law Blocking Redevelopment.” In the article, Austermuhle wrote:
A lawsuit has been filed over a quirky, decades-old D.C. law that protects full-service gas stations from closing down and becoming something else.
John Formant, a D.C. realtor and developer, is suing the city over the law, which all but prohibits owners of full-service gas stations — those that offer mechanic services and retail, not just gas — from closing and converting them to commercial or residential use.
When Formant bought the building in 2005, his original plan for the site was to remove the service station and put up a large, triangular-shaped 54-unit condo building with street-level retail. But that plan was derailed by legislation sponsored by D.C. Counci lmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), who sought to prevent the loss of service stations in the District to development.
Drew Schneider is a Petworth resident who blogs at PetworthNews.org. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.