Letter – How is this allowed to happen?

Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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Dear Editor,

Fifteen months ago, BECO and 7-11 lost their lawsuit, which attempted to throw out the decision by the Harborview Architectural Review Board not to allow for the building of a 7-11 convenience store/gas station at the corner of Harborview Blvd and Champion’s Way in Suffolk. They (BECO/7-11) have appealed that decision. The case will be heard on March 26. Oral arguments on the case have been set by the Virginia Court of Appeals for March 26 at 9 a.m. at the Norfolk Circuit courthouse, room 6A.

My question is, how can the City of Suffolk, in all good conscience, allow this to go ahead? Never mind the fact that this intersection is dangerous and also a school bus stop. Let’s only consider that the city approved this location, knowing that a minimum of two 20,000-gallon storage tanks for gasoline will be installed 20 feet from the Children’s Harbor daycare center/school. These tanks will release Benzene gas, a known carcinogen, into the air 24/7. Most states have laws against this. Virginia has left it up to local authorities to determine a safe standoff distance for these types of storage tanks.

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I’m shocked by our city officials’ reckless decision-making. Is it their ultimate goal for Children’s Harbor to close its facility at this location? God knows there’s way too much childcare in the area (said with sarcasm).

Please, Suffolk planners and leaders, come to your senses and opt to protect the ‘born’ children of the community by overturning your decision to allow this gas station/convenience store to be built. I would think the revenue generated by the 13 other stations in the city would be enough. There are already nine within five miles of this site.


Mark Downing

Suffolk, Virginia