Despite various permit extensions, work appears to have again stalled at a long-shuttered gas station in downtown Howell.
The City has been working for years to bring the property at 401 East Grand River back to a viable use. It’s the former Citgo gas station at the corner of Barnard and Grand River. Plans to re-open a gas station on the site were actually approved by the City back in 2016 but nothing ever happened. Permits were again issued last year to the owner, Fadi Kajy of Wixom-based FPD Properties, but were then revoked again due to lack of action. In December, permits were again granted but with weekly milestones included to keep them on task and city officials were “reluctantly hopeful” the project would continue to move forward.
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, a less than positive update was provided on the situation. Interim Howell City Manager Erv Suida tells WHMI they spent a considerable amount of time and effort with the property owner trying to get the gas station up and running and also made some extensions to their permit in good faith. He says the owner has done some work such as landscaping restoration and some clean-up. A dumpster enclosure was also out in and a concrete pad was poured. Suida says the agreement with the City was through January 2020 and it doesn’t look like the owner will meet that. He says they’ll be back in touch with him and see what actions they can take but are pretty disappointed.
The City has fielded countless complaints about the property and issued various tickets. Kajy was previously cited by the city for making repairs without a permit as well as for allowing junk to accumulate on the property. The City had also tried to initiate dangerous building proceedings last year but the designation no longer applied – on the premise that the unsafe conditions had been rectified so it was considered just a vacant building. It’s unclear how things will proceed now but regular updates have been being provided at Council meetings. If the project does ever move forward fully, it’s expected the station would have two new pumps with four fueling stations and a remodeled interior. (JM)