You may be as surprised as we were to find out the Brenwick plans to put a gas station next to your home. Crazy! That's what we thought too. Please explore the site, visit the linked articles and research for yourself to see if this is really something that you want. A lot has transpired over the last few months and we've recently retained Community and Environmental Defense Services to help us protect the residents near the proposed site. A lot has transpired of the last few months so please subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.
Great Questions. To best understand what the risks are we need to know what we would be exposed to. The biggest health concerns for those living in close proximity to a gas station would be Benzene, Carbon Monoxide, and exhaust fumes. We all know the dangers of Engine Exhaust and Carbon Monoxide, but we wanted to introduce you to your new neighbor, Benzene.
A natural component in gasoline and found in high concentrations at Gas Stations and engine exhaust, Benzene is a known cancer causing agent, and has no safe threshold of exposure. But don't take my word for it. View the research from a few reputable sources:
THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY
THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
So, according to the world's leading scientists, doctors, and safety organizations Benzene has no place near a home or in a residential setting.
Studies show increased rates of:
After reading far too many reports on gas station compliance and safety (and talking with specialists) it's clear that it's not IF an Underground Storage Tank (UST's) will leak. It's WHEN it will leak.
But once again, I don't want this to be here-say. So how many exactly have leaked?
Don't feel bad, I thought that was a typo too.
But that's nation wide since 1988, so we don't have that many leaks now...do we?
In Indiana alone there were 172 reported UST leaks last year. So roughly every other day in Indiana an underground storage tank containing petroleum starts leaking. Let that sink in.
Cleanup is not quick or easy. The EPA has a backlog of 1,235 sites to clean up here in Indiana. And they're moving at a pace of about 300 per year. Not their fault, it's not easy work to remove hazardous material from the area and even harder once it makes it to the ground water.
That sounds expensive. How much does it cost to clean up? On Average it's $130,000 per clean up. And if it gets into the ground water it can go well over $1 Million.
The addition of a gas station within the neighborhood brings with it more than just health risks. With it comes the increased possibility of crime and an increase in traffic that will place the pedestrians and those riding bikes from one part of the village to another at risk.
As a rule of thumb, each proposed pump at a gas station generates about 100 to 130 trips per day. By “pump” we mean fueling position. A convenience store will generate 800 to 1,200 trips per day per 1,000 square feet. These are industry standard numbers, and by the base estimates the gas station + convenience store would see well over 2000 trips per day. The additional traffic will not only create frustration but a number of safety concerns.
• Can we see a traffic study covering directional and destination traffic patterns to ensure it's safe?
• How will pedestrians be protected? With hundreds of residents walking across Towne Road every day, how will the residents be protected?
• What measures are being taken to insulate the neighborhood from the additional traffic, road noise, and pollution?
One study noted that:
“Convenience store employees suffer from high rates of workplace homicide, second only to taxicab drivers.”
A study of the relationship between violence of other factors found an increasing trend as the number of alcohol outlets in an area rose. the following is a principal finding from this study:
“A larger number of alcohol outlets and a higher rate of violence might be expected in poorer neighborhoods or in neighborhoods with a larger population of young people. But as the research described above shows, even when levels of poverty and the age and the ethnic background of residents are taken into account, a high density of outlets is strongly related to violence regardless of a neighborhood’s economic, ethnic or age status.”
FBI National Crime Statistics: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/tables/table-23
If you were given the option to purchase a home next to a gas station or one that is not next to a gas station, what would you pick? It's fair to say we would all choose the latter. What happens when the homes near the gas station try to sell, but buyers continue to choose other properties? Sellers will have to lower their price to make it more attractive. When those homes do sell, they are then counted as comps to similar homes throughout the neighborhood creating the possibility to negatively impact a large portion of our home values.
Will it affect all home values? No. But it will affect some. A recent study shows that those within 300 ft could see as much as a 16% decrease in home value and those within 1500 feet could see as much as a 9% decrease.
As residents of the Village of West Clay and Carmel we need to express our concerns to all of those who are on the village board and the city council.
1. Many of the residents who supposedly 'supported' and 'asked for' the project didn't even know about it.
2. We're concerned about the health and safety ramifications of placing a gas station with known cancer causing effects within the neighborhood. How is it a gas station can be placed in a neighborhood in the first place?
3. The additional traffic will put pedestrians at great risk when walking across the neighborhood
4. While the exact financial impacts are unknown, there is a strong likelihood that a gas station within a residential setting could significantly and negatively impact our home values.
I'm sure you have more concerns and questions, as we all do. So please feel free to email voice them to our board and council members as well as on our form below.
Feel free use these concerns as a guide and share them along with your own thoughts in your email
Email the Board of Zoning Appeals: Joe Shestak
• Put “gas station at 131st and Towne- Docket No. PZ-2020-00093-96 V” in the subject line.
• At this point the initial zoning is complete. So we have to fight the 4 variances. Write to the Board of Zoning Appeals and express your concern regarding the 4 variance requests, and how allowing them will provide a dangerous precedent for future development.
• The emails need to focus on the facts of the variances and not on our opinions. Emails stating we don't want a gas station will be ignored. Our two largest concerns are moving the pumps and parking from behind the building to the front, and reducing the amount of space required for cars to wait in line. Ordinances This produces a big hazard that could impact the traffic and safety of pedestrians. Please reach out to us and we can explain the variances in detail.
If you'd like to learn more about the project all of the documents can be found at the link below including variance requests, elevations, and site plans.
"The residents of the Village strongly support the Family Express convenience store" - Jeff Terp
A large portion of us were never asked if we supported a gas station. And many didn't even know it was in the works.
How is it that we can strongly support something we weren't aware of?
According to Brenwick in their application for the variance this project is "supported by the surrounding owners and Village residents"
Again, How do they know if the village residents support something if we have not been asked? Given that Brenwick is declaring our support, should Brenwick have conducted a village wide survey or vote?
Please see the following email from the Village of West Clay Executive Director, which was only sent to select people asking them to express support. If people are saying that ALL of the village residents support something, shouldn't ALL of the village residents be asked?
As you can see from an email correspondence in 2015 The Village asked residents to support a motion to rezone Area 3 (where the gas station is planning on going) to commercial so they could put in a 'Pediatric Office.'
Who wouldn't support that?
A splendid example of Transparency (yes, that's one of the Village's core values)