May 17, 2020

Gas station plans in Temple neighborhood dropped after community takes action

Gas station plans in Temple neighborhood dropped after community takes action

TEMPLE, Texas — When Steven Patterson found out a developer was planing to put a gas station in the middle of a south Temple neighborhood, he began a petition keep the zoning from going through. 

Last Sunday, neighbors told 6 News the section of Midway Drive where the gas station would be located was already crowded enough for a business to be located there. Patterson interviewed with 6 News last Sunday night, and gave out his email for people wanting to get involved. 

People wanted to get involved. 

“After the story ran on Sunday night, after about 10:20 p.m., I started getting a barrage of emails,” Patterson said. “I was up till almost 3 in the morning answering emails, sending out petitions, and answering questions. It caught on like wildfire.”

Patterson said people told him they had also called the city directly about his concerns. He had collected around 50 petitions by Wednesday, and was planing on collecting over 100 by Friday, but then on Wednesday after noon he got an unexpected email. 

It turns out, community members opposing the gas station had already won. 

“It came as a total surprise,” Patterson said.”The contractor had withdrawn his proposal to build there.”

An email from Director of Planning & Development Brian Chandler stated, “I Wanted to let you know that the developer has withdrawn the rezoning request and is in the process of cancelling the contract.  We will have the website updated accordingly.”

RELATED: Temple residents protest proposed gas station in their neighborhood

Patterson said he didn’t know exactly what the tipping point was, but could tell 6 News he would have been presenting between 150 and 200 petitions to the City of Temple and he knew some people had already been sending emails to Temple Planning and Development staff and every council member about the issue. Patterson said people continued to contact him after he put the city’s response on Facebook. 

“They are still contacting me today. Sending me emails and asking to be put on a list if it ever happens again,” Patterson said. 

Patterson told 6 News he realizes the City of Temple would probably like to do something with the property, and it will be a difficult decision. He hopes the sheer turnout against the gas station makes the changes of putting a business in the middle of the neighborhood unlikely. 

“It would be a really hard sell,” Patterson said. 

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