Gas station development proposal causing controversy in Stevens - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Gas station development proposal causing controversy in Stevens Point

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -

Dozens of people attended a meeting tonight in Stevens Point, to discuss two proposed gas stations. They would both be off of Highway 10. But the plans are causing controversy, dividing the Town of Hull and Stevens Point City Leaders.

About 70 people gathered at The Lincoln Center for a Stevens Point Plan Commission Meeting, where the proposal of two gas stations on Highway 10 are causing quite the debate.

"I just feel it's a wrong spot for a gas station, I'm all for development but not a gas station," said Town of Hull resident Pat Kitowski. 

"We want to find a balance between being able to allow developments to move forward in a safe responsible way but protect our groundwater interest at the same time," said Mayor of Stevens Point, Andrew Halverson.

Stevens Point City Officials say both proposed gas stations will be built on city grounds, one on Old Highway 18, and the other on Badger Avenue in Stevens Point. Both are in commercial district zones, and in well head protection areas.

"It scares me very much because if there's a spill, that's going to affect my water," said Kitowski. 

"If a spill first of all does happen which will be the worst case scenario of all of these, the owner of the property is going to be required to clean that up," said Mayor Halverson. 

But Town of Hull residents say the location of the proposed buildings is what's causing the controversy.

"You can engineer these and they've increased the engineering skills double tanks and so forth, but you cannot eliminate human error, and that's the problem," said John Holdridge, Town of Hull Chairman. 

Conditional use permits to build the gas station have been approved by the Planning Commission. The next step is to take the proposal in front of the Full Council.

The Mayor says city officials are trying their best to make sure contamination doesn't occur.

"We feel that the conditions the chief of planning is putting forward protects the groundwater but allows for these projects to be able to move forward and I think that's the balance," he said.

This is just the latest in a long string of debates. But both city leaders and Town of Hull residents say they'll continue to fight for what's right.

The Stevens Point City Council will meet later this month to discuss the approval of the permits.

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