Shrewsbury residents rail against proposed gas station at zoning meeting


SHREWSBURY, Mo. – Shrewsbury neighbors showed up in force to fight a developer who wants to put a gas station near their homes.

A plethora of problems plagued Wednesday night’s meeting at the Shrewsbury City Center. First of all, the audio didn’t work. Folks in attendance, many of them seniors, couldn’t hear. They finally moved their chairs closer to front of the room.

Then a storm hit. Power was knocked out and everything went dark. Seconds later, the generator kicked in but the zoning members joining by Zoom couldn’t get connected. They didn’t have a quorum as a result.

Just as they were about to cancel the meeting, those members reconnected. The meeting was able to begin a half-hour late.

“I think it’s a good spot for the station because there’s a lot of traffic that comes into the center,” said developer Sunny Bhalla.

Bhalla wants to build a service station in the parking lot of his strip shopping center, which also is home to an Aldi. People who live in condos nearby say no.

“I think it will draw traffic through the subdivision,” Carl Frederick said.

Frederick and more than 70 people packed the room to tell zoning officials to reject the proposal.

“We’re against this totally because, obviously, you wouldn’t want one in your backyard,” said Brian Mclain, president of the local homeowners’ association.

Well-known lawyer Chet Pleban lives in the area and made a courtroom-style argument against the service station.

“Clearly, you have issues that relate to public safety,” he said. “You have noise pollution, light pollution.”

The developer told people he had 30 years’ experience operating service stations in California, where rules are strict concerning the environment and people safety.

He said the station would be state of the art and would include electric vehicle charging.

Planning and zoning folks tabled the issue. That means the developer has to make changes to his proposal before he can resubmit.

“I welcome their feedback. I will take it back and then analyze and think about how I will move forward,” Bhalla said.

At this point, a lot of doubt surrounds the possibility of a service station in that spot.

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