Gas station approved in West Melbourne despite opposition

By John W. Davis, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 10:53 PM EDT

The battle over a gas station got heated in Brevard County Tuesday night. A group of neighbors brought their concerns about the proposed gas station to the West Melbourne City Council.

Lyle Lathe said his life will never be the same if a new gas station is built right next to his property. The station would go on the site of an old plant nursery, which was annexed into the city of West Melbourne last month.

“It’s the fact that the congestion, the pollution and so on would affect all of the people in the area,” Lathe said.

Lathe and his neighbors filed an appeal with the West Melbourne City Council Tuesday night, claiming the city’s Board of Adjustment illegally approved rezoning for the new gas station. They said there were code and records violations and that the board did not weigh the impact a gas station would have on neighbors.

“I’m not asking for favoritism towards the established gas stations in the area," said Brandon Ackerman. "I’m merely pointing out the fact that it’s too many gas stations.”

But after nearly two hours of presentations, rebuttals and discussion, the West Melbourne City Council unanimously denied the opposition’s appeal and approved the project.

“We have no grounds to say that they did anything improper," said Councilmember Stephany Ealy. "Would I like to see fewer gas stations in the city of West Melbourne? Do I not want anymore probably coming into the city of West Melbourne? The answer for me personally is yes but that has nothing to do with these proceedings. These proceedings have to do with an appeal process of our board of adjustment and I don’t see any grounds for us to be able to deny that.”

However, neighbors are not ready to give up their fight just yet. They are considering filing another appeal, this time in court.