Residents speak out against proposed gas station for 38th and Capitol


Several neighborhood leaders are upset over what's proposed for a busy intersection on the city's north side. They worry it will be another magnet for crime.

At issue is a 24-hour gas station with carryout food proposed for the northeast corner of Capitol and 38th Street. There's currently an auto accessory shop there. The owner of the property, who also owns a Shell station on the opposite corner, wants to put a gas station there, to serve westbound traffic.

While the parcel is already zoned commercial, it needs a few changes to allow for things like carry-out food and canopy's over the gas pumps.

Michael McKillip, executive director of Midtown Indy, is among those strongly opposed.

"What concerns us is the trend we're seeing in terms of gas station locations in the area with a history of crime," he said.

McKillip held a thick book containing a list of all the police runs over the last year and a half to five nearby gas stations. He said most were to the BP/McDonalds at 38th and Illinois. Since January 1, 2012, police have been called there more than 700 times.

"We're not saying all gas stations are bad but it's generally a bad idea to put a gas station in an area where the crime stats are this high," he said.

McKillip is especially worried about that, as he's leading efforts to develop the 38th Street corridor.

Rufus Black also thinks another gas station on 38th is a bad idea. Black has lived in the area for 16 years and works hard to maintain his home. He fears another gas station would "invite more crime, more hold-ups and people loitering...that (BP/McDonalds) is really a haven for people coming up and doing whatever" at all hours of the night.

David Kingen, a zoning expert who's representing the owner, said they've committed to several improvements.

Documents show they've agreed to landscaping, a knee-wall around the property and security cameras. They've also agreed not to sell alcohol or drug paraphernalia and to prohibit loud speakers in the parking lot.

But as McKillip points out, police have also been called to the Shell station more than 200 times in the last year and a half.

He also shared a long list of zoning violations saying, "these problems are long-standing and it's time we connect the dots for the Department of Metropolitan Development and the city to stop repeating the same mistake year after year."

At-large City County Councilor John Barth said he'd been in touch with several neighborhood groups and "across the board people are strongly opposed."

Barth calls the gas station the wrong use at the wrong location.

"It's clear that the gas stations around this zone have attracted crime and there hasn't been much done by the owners to help reduce it," he said.

Barth and McKillip also oppose another zoning change near the northwest corner of 38th and Capitol. It would allow a residential lot to be zoned commercial to accommodate the expansion of a tire-changing store.

The owner has said he needs the change so he can store more tires on site, but Barth said the owner has been cited by Code Enforcement for various violations that last nine of ten years.

Both issues are expected to go before the hearing examiner in September.