Facing strong opposition, proposed Visalia gas station put on hold

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A controversial proposal to build a large gas station with long hours in Visalia was put on hold last night.

Visalia planning commissioners voted four to one to deny a conditional use permit for the project, which would be located on Caldwell Avenue.

Robin Hernandez is optimistic about the future of a fight she started eight months ago.

She opposes a plan to build an Arco AM-PM gas station and convenience store near her Visalia home.

More than three years ago, the city changed the land designation to allow for that type of business.

"(The proposed project) is industrial," Hernandez said. "It doesn't belong in a neighborhood, and with that industrial size comes the light, the noise."

Hernandez also says she has evidence proving a gas station like this would attract crime and homelessness.

Monday night, Visalia city planning commissioners listened to these concerns, and a majority voted to deny a conditional use permit for the project, being proposed by Southern California-based Chandi Group USA.

Its president says he respects their decision.

When we asked Nachattar Singh Chandi if he plans to appeal, he said they have ten days to do so and are looking at their options.

He says the project would not be a truck stop and would not bring crime, but he believes it could have been a $12 million dollar investment into the city.

He says he wanted to build a larger gas station to provide customers with a convenient experience, where they wouldn't have to wait.

"You don't want to wait 10-20 minutes in line for gas, so that's the reason I spend a little extra money, providing more convenience for my customer," said Chandi.

"There are people who are for it, but I don't know that they're the homeowners, and property owners," Hernandez said.

But Chandi is willing to make modifications to the project, such as nixing the car wash and reducing the size of the gas station.

He says he would like to meet with the opposition to explain those plans.

Hernandez hopes that happens.
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