The long discussed zoning ordinance that would limit gas stations to only be located in general commercial zones is advancing to city council, as a result of a Fort Wayne Planning Commission recommendation Monday.
The recommendation asks that gas stations no longer be considered special uses in zoning.
This advancement comes as great news to District 6 Councilman Glynn Hines who has advocated for this law for years, saying there are too many gas stations in the southeast side of town which he oversees. He calls the gas station prices predatory.
“The main thing is the people that are running these stores don’t really care about the community,” he said. “They care about their profit margin. The example I like to use is a banana I bought for a dollar at one of the gas stations, then I walked across the street to Aldi’s and you get five for a dollar.”
Hines demands his residents get full-service grocery stores instead of gas stations, which he said are unhealthy.
One operation he does respect is the My Market Sonoco on the corner of Hanna St. and McKinnie Ave., owned by Moe Ghaffar.
“He has food options,” Hines explained. “Some places they don’t have that other than candy, potato chips and things like that, pop, high sugars, diabetes, hypertension.”
My Market considers itself a gas station and a small grocery store. In addition to gas, it sells groceries and chicken that they batter and cook. They will soon sell freshly made ice cream and smoothies.
Ghaffar runs his station independently. Hines said this a model the corporate owned stations can follow, one where they actively try to benefit the community they reside in.
“If you want to be a difference you have to make a difference,” Ghaffar said. “What we try to do is be a prime example for all the business owners that you have to invest in communities like the Southeast Fort Wayne community. I believe to make a difference you have to give. You have to build. That’s why I coordinate with a lot of local leaders. I think the Southeast deserves better than it is right now. In respect to having petroleum, I think we’ve got enough on the southeast side.”
Ghaffar is working on opening two restaurants in the area, his way of further investing in the community.
Hines’ zoning ordinance is projected to come before City Council in March. If it passes, it would go into effect in April. Hines believes right now the vote appears to be split four and four and that one councilman will be the swing vote.