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City Council to Decide Rezoning

*** UPDATE MONDAY 10:58 P.M. ***The plans for a controversial new gas station in Columbia are now on hold. The Columbia City Council was supposed to decide whether to rezone Rock Quarry Road and Grindstone Parkway to build a new Break Time gas station.The issue has caused protests and petitions by residents in the area, so Monday morning MFA oil withdrew its request. MFA Oil’s lawyer said after talking to council members they knew the vote would not be in their favor Monday night.MFA Oil needed five out of seven votes to approve the plan, their lawyer told ABC 17 News they didn’t want to waste anymore time, energy or money by continuing with the issue.At this time they plan to re-group and don’t know where a new location will be for a gas station.*** ORIGINAL STORY ***A new gas station could soon be here in Columbia, but it’s set to be built in the backyard of a neighborhood.The decision to rezone the southwest corner of Rock Quarry Road and Grindstone will be up to the City Council.On Monday, those opposed and those for the plan are getting ready for the vote. People who live near Rock Quarry and Grindstone worry a 24-hour gas station would only increase traffic and possible crime, however MFA Oil and the Planning and Zoning Commission already agree it would be a good business move for the city.Currently the area is zoned for residential housing but MFA Oil wants it to be changed to commercial, something most people in the area are not happy about.Ryan Henry just moved away from area but told ABC 17 News he along with many others want the City Council to vote against the plan.”They have concerns about violence, they have concerns about the traffic, especially they have concerns that it’s too congested for the area and that their property values are going to go down,” said Henry.Neighbors have signed a petition forcing a two thirds majority vote and tomorrow the council will decide after hearing from both sides.”I have absolutely no idea how the votes are going to go,” Mayor Bob McDavid said. “I think for a lot of us, the public hearing is very important and I think for almost all of us we are going to be interested in seeing what both sides have to say before we come up with a final decision.”Officials with MFA Oil told ABC 17 News the Break Time won’t create any extra traffic and will simply provide accessible service for growing area. MFA are trying to work with neighbors and even agreed to build a fence in the back of the property, however compromise aside tomorrow comes down to what city officials think.”It comes down to a question of what is the best use of that property and that’s the decision we will have to make,” said McDavid.

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