Gas station fighting to keep car wash expansion irks some neighbors

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- 
Neighbors are not too happy with the owner of Bucky’s gas station at 50th and Dodge.

“What is it going to do to our property values, having a gas station right behind us?” nearby resident Wayne Conradson said.

The business owner was informed by the city planning department again this week that he can’t keep his property — which he expanded without proper zoning approval — as-is. 

Conradson, who has been living down the street from Bucky's gas station for nearly 50 years, said he doesn’t think the gas station needs to get any bigger. 

“I don't want it,” he said. “We don't need a mega-mart gas station there.”

Last summer, property owner Steve Bucanon bought the home behind the station, tore it down, then built an extended car wash driveway.

All of this was done without city approval or following zoning requirements. 

“He had lights on it, and it shined in the neighbor's window behind them,” Conradson said. “Cars would go there in the middle of the night and shine their lights into the houses. We eventually made him put a fence up.”

When the city found out, the property owner was cited.

Bucanon then applied for a permit for the addition, and now has been requesting approval for a re-zoning that would allow the expansion to stay as it exists now.

Neighbor Gene Gard

“Businesses, if they start infringing on the homes, it starts to erode the neighborhood,” he said.

The plan has gone before the planning department several times and has been denied. The board called the new paved entrance "illegal,” adding that the property can't be across a residential district.

The city also fears allowing one business to encroach opens the floodgates for others to do the same. 

“The Planning Department has recommended against the applicant's request because it's non-compliant with the cities
master plan,” city planner Cheri Rockwell said.

But some people don't mind the addition, and that they feel the car wash is useful for the area. 

“Maybe he didn't do it to code or something, excuse me everybody else gets waivers. Everybody else gets a fine,” said Larry Storer, who lives nearby. 

The rezoning request will go before the city council later this month. If denied again, the property owner would be forced to tear out the driveway.