Owner of Oldest Service Station In State Fights to Expand

{}A Fresno mechanic operating his repair shop in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods will soon learn if he is able to expand his business.

Owner of Van Ness Auto Repair, Jim Medina says he's tired of fighting to keep his business open.

However, his fight could soon be soon.

Later this month, Fresno's city council will decide whether to change the wording in the zoning rules, allowing him to expand his business from a service station to an auto repair shop, and his hours.

Currently, he is operating under a planning commission judgment.

Jim Medina says, "Everybody has a right to go to a job without harassment. But apparently not me, I get harassed on a weekly basis."

He says if the council decides not to grant him the change, he will have to close.

He says he and his workers will be out of a job.

Jim Medina says, "We have four good employees that have families, which would be out of job. One's been with me going on 12 years."

For years, neighbors have complained that Medina parks cars in neighborhood streets, blocks sidewalks and does repairs out in the open.

Some claim if he is allowed to expand his business, it will bring more problems.

Neighbor Brad Polzin says, "This is a very small station. It does not have room for the parking. It doesn't have room for the size of operation the owner would like to run here."

Neighbor Lloyd Evans says, "We certainly are opposed to any additional increase in his business operation at that location, sitting right in the middle of our residential neighborhood."

Medina says he is aware of their concerns and has made changes.

Medina says, "A business down the street the owner has graciously offered to allow me to park more cars to alleviate some of the congestion, it's worked out beautifully for us. So the only cars that are here now, are the ones we are working on."

Supporters say, Medina and the community has made investments in the station over the years increasing its value.

Come August 22, 2013, the Fresno City Council will decide if the mechanic can expand his auto repair shop. If not, California's oldest station may have to close its doors forever.

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