Westfield City Council approves GeGo, 4-2
By Anna Skinner
Harmony residents opposing the GetGo gas station to be built on the northwest corner of 146th Street and Ditch Road in the Harmony commercial area left disappointed with their city councilors Oct. 10 after the council approved the gas station, 4-2, with Cindy Spoljaric and Joe Edwards voting against.
The proposal was introduced to the council in May, and it has seen architectural changes since. The advisory plan commission forwarded the proposal onto the council with a positive recommendation after its Sept. 6 meeting with conditions restricting hours of operation, outdoor audio and signage on the gas station’s canopy, as well as providing a screen buffer.
Each councilor present expressed thoughts and concerns before voting, with Steve Hoover speaking first.
“As you can see from the architecture, it certainly is a much better fit for the community in Harmony,” he said. “This has been a tough decision for me. I know there are concerns, and I do not believe though that crime and traffic and some of the main issues that were raised will in fact be as nearly as bad as what the neighbors believe.”
Hoover expressed beliefs that a fast food station in that same area would provide more of an issue than a gas station.
Jim Ake, Chuck Lehman and Mark Keen shared similar thoughts. In addition to agreeing with Hoover, other comments included valuing the opinions of the plan commissioners and the use of 146th Street becoming a major roadway. However, councilors Joe Edwards and Cindy Spoljaric voted against the proposal as gas station developments originally were prohibited in the Harmony area.
“Years ago, when this PUD came through, it was specified back then it wasn’t supposed to have a gas station here,” Spoljaric said. “Now, coming through and asking for that, I don’t know that there’s a valid reason other than you can make money off of it. I don’t think this is appropriate for the residential area, especially for our Carmel neighbors. They’re not our constituents, but I feel it’s my duty as a decision maker to look out for everybody.”
Joe Edwards spoke the briefest, sharing words of wisdom that a previous boss told him.
“In my working career, I had a boss who told me one time, ‘You plan your work, and you work your plan.’ When we fiddle with a plan, we always come up with things like this,” he said.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at Westfield City Hall, 130 Penn St. For more, visit westfield.in.gov.