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Problem gas station near 35th and McKinley to shut down

Posted at 1:45 PM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 16:00:08-05

A gas station on the near west side will be forced to close after the Milwaukee Common Council voted not to renew its licenses Tuesday.

The BP Gas Station near 35th and McKinley has been owned for about 17 years by Gurdev Singh. Milwaukee Police say in the last year, there have been four gun related incidents, which qualifies the property to be labeled a nuisance.

"They've had numerous shootings over the last year," Ald. Bob Bauman said. "Numerous incidents of other criminal behavior. Drug dealing, loitering, panhandling, people sleeping on gas pumps. The location is basically out of control and there has to be some accountability."

Bauman is the alderman for the neighborhood where the gas station is. He says what has happened here over the last year is indicative of what the gas station brings to the community.

"McKinley is one of the finest streets," Bauman said. "This is not a challenged neighborhood. The problem is not the neighborhood. The problem is the location."

Singh's attorney, Vincent Bobot, spoke to the Common Council before their decision.

"Look around the chambers this morning," Bobot said. "These are neighbors that have come here that are in support of the gas station."

A little more than a dozen people flanked Singh with signs saying they wish the gas station could remain open.

"It's good for gas and shopping for groceries," Patricia Willford, a local resident said. "To take it away, it will make a big dent for a lot of us who walk to the gas station. I get up every morning and I go there before I go to work. It's going to put a big dent in my time by closing this gas station."

"Just because you close this gas station down, crime is not going to stop," Elliott, another local resident said. "It's just going to migrate."

There were several discussions during the council meeting about the speed at which Singh responded to complaints issued by police. However, the Common Council voted not to renew the licenses regardless of that.

"Allowing this gas station to continue operating allows crime not happening elsewhere in the neighborhood to happen there," Ald. Nik Kovac said. "It would be a huge mistake not to take action on this. I've never seen a better case for shutting something down. It will improve the neighborhood."

Bobot says they plan to appeal. If the appeal fails, the gas station will be forced to close on January 3, 2020.