Update: Even though it was reported as dead in chamber it wasn't. It passed and became law on May 2nd. The 2015 bill was emergency legislation, though I'm not clear why that was needed. It still only applies to full-service station conversions though, as I read it. Georgetown Metropolitan has heard some speculation that the law came from Mendelson, and notes that the bill was introduced by him. But the bill, as originally introduced had nothing to do with gas stations.It was just about removing unneeded boards. Anywhoo, I apologize for any confusion.
In mid-March I reported on a bill that was introduced that would, among other things, create extra hoops for any gas station that wanted to convert into something else like a condo or office building. Then at the end of March, the Post reported that this was already law.
You'll be happy to know that I was probably right and they were most likely wrong. It looks like the bill they cited (Bill 20-71 for those of you keeping track at home) died in chamber (which might explain the "little fanfare"). So, that should put everyone at ease.
But, if you oppose such a law, because it's stupid, then you should be worried that the same language was re-introduced this year (Bill 21-46). The upside is that there is still time to kill it - I suppose.
The gas station advisory board, actually dates back to 1976, when full service stations were being converted into self-service. The concern was that auto owners would be unable to find places to have their car serviced. I don't know if anyone has challenged the city's ability to do this from a property rights standpoint, but if so, then I guess it has stood up.
I heard a rumor that this expansion of the law came from Jack Evans, who was concerned that his gas station of choice (on Wisconsin Avenue, I think) was going to be converted into a condo and he was unhappy about that, so he wanted to be able to stop that. Prior to that, they were actually going to kill the Gas Station Advisory Board which has had no members since 2006.
One more thing, the bill doesn't apply to all gas stations. I don't know if this is a mistake or what, but the current change to the language would only mean that a full-service station couldn't be turned into a condo. But it doesn't appear to apply to nonfull service station.
Below is the current law with the additions in bold. The underlined part is emphasis I added.
No retail service station which is operated as a full service retail service station on or after April 19, 1977, may be discontinued, nor may be structurally altered, modified, or otherwise converted, irrespective of the type or magnitude of the alteration, modification, or conversion, including, but not limited to, any alteration, modification, or conversion which has the effect of merely obstructing access to an existing garage, service bay, work area, or similar enclosed area by any motor vehicle which was previously accommodated, into a nonfull service facility or to any other use.
So this may very well be targeted at harming a Georgetown service station conversion, but it's neither law nor currently targeting all gas stations.
It's still stupid, and they should just follow the recommendations of the Office of Boards and Commissions and kill this particular board. That is all, now back to bike stuff.