A new gas station is coming to Middletown after all.
In June 2021, the planning commission unanimously approved the request to allow a gas station to be built at the southwest corner of Manchester Road and Dixie Highway, across the street from Speedway. Then in August, city council went against the commission and denied the request.
The owners of the property, Healing Word Church, asked council to reconsider its decision, though the language remained the same. Council heard the first reading on Dec. 21, then voted on the second reading last week when two new members, Zack Ferrell and Rodney Muterspaw, were on council.
Council approved rezoning the 1.78 acres from low density residential to planned development by a 4-1 vote. Tal Moon was the lone no vote. He said there isn’t enough low density residential in the city so he was against the rezoning
Vice Mayor Monica Nenni, who voted for the ordinance change last year, said she supports small business and considers a gas station/convenience store in that location the “highest and best use.”
After the legislation passed, the Rev. Don Shepherd, pastor of Healing Word Church, and applicant Amarjit Takhar shook hands and left the city council meeting.
Takhar has indicated he’d spend about $3.5 million constructing a gas station with five pumps.
During the citizen comment portion of the city council meeting, Stephen Hightower II, from Hightower Petroleum in Middletown, told council his company has worked with Takhar, who owns 35 stores in the state, for seven years.
He said competition creates lower gas prices and the average gas station/convenience store creates 17 jobs.
Shepherd said Healing Word purchased the property in 1998 in hopes of building a church and parking lot, but architects later determined the property size was inadequate.
In the last 24 years, since it’s zoned commercial and not residential, the church has paid $40,000 in taxes, according to Shepherd.
“We need to sell the property,” he told council at an earlier meeting.
In Other News:
Nenni was named the city’s vice mayor after an executive session. With Condrey as mayor, that means for the first time in Middletown’s history, the mayor and vice mayor are women.
With the addition of rookies Ferrell and Muterspaw, the city council has 10 years of council experience. Moon has served six years and Condrey and Nenni two each.
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