Proposed gas station in Florence draws controversy

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss.– A proposed gas station is stirring up some controversy in Florence. WJTV’s News Channel 12’s Lucy Dieckhaus spoke with an alderman about why some say the planned location could cause the town several safety problems.

This Florence tire shop on 121 South Church Street could soon transform into a gas station and convenience store.

One alderman said he’s working to change those plans because it could cause traffic congestion.

“With a new gas station going in there, not necessarily more traffic in the area, but more people trying to turn in and out of the gas station which will cause the slow moving traffic to slow down even more,” said Grantham.

He said the fire station nearby could be affected by traffic delays, and during emergencies the firefighters need all the time they can get.

“It would be very difficult for them to get the fire truck in and out of that area,” said Grantham.

Florence gas station employee Kansas Killebrew said while it may take away from other businesses, the regulars will still flock to their favorite shop.

“Customers that regularly come in i think they will still probably come in,” said Killebrew.

David Rushing of Florence said the business owner may want to invest in something else.

“Florence is so small. They just trying to overcrowd it. Why not spend the money that they are about to spend on the gas station on something that would be a little bit more better than five gas stations for a little bitty city,” said Rushing.

He’s not the only one against the new convenience store and gas station.  An online petition has racked up more than 300 signatures.

The alderman said he does hear the residents’ concerns, but the city cannot stop the gas station from moving in at least not yet.

“We are doing everything we can to look into the situation but at this time our hands are basically tied because it does fit in all ordinances and zoning requirements,” said Grantham.

Alderman Brian Grantham said the owners have worked with the city to revise some of their original plans. They agreed to move back one of the entrances 10 to 15 feet.

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