North City Shell gas station ordered to close for a year, city citing nuisance concerns

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 6:25 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A gas station that has been at the center of safety concerns in North St. Louis is now being ordered to shut down by the city.

“You’ve got gas stations right there along Jefferson less than half a mile from this location, you’ve got gas stations around Salisbury, that are not having these exact same issues and problems,” said Brandon Bosley, 3rd Ward Alderman for the City of St. Louis.

An order, issued by the city’s Department of Public Safety states the Shell gas station at 2800 North Florissant Avenue received 57 calls for service and other nuisance activity in a span of 13 months prior to the city’s decision to put the property on notice as a public nuisance on March 31, 2022.

A Public Nuisance Abatement Hearing addressing concerns about the property first began back on Oct. 21, 2022. 13 witnesses testified against the property from police to residents. They cited multiple incidents involving shootings, drug use, assaults, and homicides occurring at the property with no security or other measures on site to remedy the issue.

This Sunday, a hearing officer finally issued an order for the property owner to close down the gas station for 12 months.

Bosley, who also testified against the gas station, said the city’s decision is a win for his constituents.

“It feels good for my community to have spoken on what it is that they would like to see happen and then you actually see the backup from the administration,” said Bosley.

Some North City residents who spoke with News 4 off camera say they welcome the city’s decision to close the shell gas station, sharing their own firsthand accounts of violence they have witnessed on the parking lot of the property.

However, some residents who live near the gas station disagree with the move.

“I don’t think it’s going to make a difference,” said Khalil, who has lived near the nuisance property for decades, “Because people are going to gravitate to a new area.”

Khalil said closing the business could hurt the immediate community more rather than curbing violence.

“This store serves people in the community with food, gas, and other necessities they may need,” said Khalil.

Bosley agrees that removing the gas station does not necessarily eliminate crime in the area. However, because this location has been such a point of concern, he believes it is worth taking the next year to come up with solutions that ensure this does not remain a place where crime is drawn to.

“[The property owners] have made a few steps, but they were also supposed to get security, so at the same time when you have security cameras, you’re supposed to have a security officer and that hasn’t been done,” said Bosley. “You’re only doing half of the agreement.”

The order states “the nuisance activity has continued at the property unabated despite repeated efforts by the City to work with the Respondent to address these activities and the dangerous environment at the property.” According to the document, this is the third public nuisance notice the property has received since March 2020.

Mayor Tishaura Jones’s office responded to the order with the following statement:

“Holding nuisance property owners accountable helps keep our communities safe. The Building Division, SLMPD and the Law Department will continue to work collaboratively to take action against nuisance properties in our neighborhoods.”

The attorney for the gas station’s property owner declined News 4′s requests for an interview, but they do say they plan to appeal the order.

Yet, Bosley’s hope is that keeping the property closed will also improve safety.

“I think we’ll see a significant decrease in the amount of crime that exists there,” he said. “We won’t see two or three homicides or four or five calls for shootings at that particular area.”

Those who operate the gas station have until Dec. 20, 30 days since the order was posted, to close or risk jail time and paying up to $500 each day they are non-compliant.