The Law Favors Gas Stations Over Redevelopment in Washington, D.C.
Martin Austermuhle reports on the details of a lawsuit that challenges a law in Washington, D.C. that protects gas stations by "[prohibiting] owners of full-service gas stations — those that offer mechanic services and retail, not just gas — from closing and converting them to commercial or residential use."
D.C. realtor and developer John Formant is suing the District over the law, after running into obstruction from the law over a parcel in the neighborhood of Pentworth. Formant's lawsuit argues that the law "unconstitutionally infringes upon his rights as a property owner, and has derailed the possible sale of the valuable parcel of land (it was assessed at almost $2 million this year, $200,000 more than in 2017) and its approved development plans."
The law in question was enacted in 1970 "when the D.C. Council imposed a moratorium on the conversion of full-service gas stations to any other use without a waiver by the mayor," reports Austermuhle. However, the law has been reaffirmed and even strengthened in recent years, as property values and redevelopment interests rise around the District.