Plans to build gas station in Carmel draws mixed opinions

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Plans to build a new gas station at a busy Carmel, Ind. intersection are drawing support and opposition.

Ricker Oil Company wants to purchase land at the intersection of 146th Street and Gray Road. The intersection serves as a three-way corner between Carmel, Noblesville and Westfield.

The southeast corner, on the Carmel side, currently sits empty and quiet, and nearby neighbors in the Woodfield subdivision want to keep it that way.

“It’s a very busy intersection,” said Woodfield resident Mary Banta.  “And we don’t need any more traffic than we already have.”

Woodfield residents and opponents have gathered nearly 200 signatures to present to the Carmel City Council during a public hearing scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m.

But others, including Ricker Oil Company owner Jay Ricker, said there are not enough gas stations in the area and this would fill a need for that.

“And with 31 widening, actually there are four that are being removed along U.S. 31,” Ricker told Fox59.  “So there’s even going to be fewer gas stations than there were.”

Currently, the land is zoned for residential use.  Ricker would have to gain approval to rezone the land in order to move forward with the plan.  He argues that nobody is building single family homes along that stretch of 146th Street or Gray Road anymore.

Ricker also said that the new gas station would be environmentally friendly, addressing the concerns of neighbors.

“We’re leaving all the trees,” Ricker said.  “The residential part of it is not changing its zoning and quite frankly, we’ve agreed to keep it as a treed space.”

However, Banta and other neighbors worry about the value of their lands.

“I think environmentally, it’s a hazard,” Banta said.  “And we’re worried about our water, and some of the major pollutants.”

If nearby neighbors oppose the plan, nearby businesses welcome it. Managers and servers across the street at the “Original Pancake House” say more traffic would mean more business for them.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Susan Savage, who works at the Original Pancake House.  “I mean we have good business here, but I think it would be good for the community.  We don’t have anything really close.”

The plan still has several hurdles to clear before coming reality. It still needs approval from the Carmel City Council and Ricker must win approval to rezone the land.

The whole process could last until late spring or early summer.

If that happens, Ricker said they would begin construction immediately, building the gas station in about four months.

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