Troubled East Broadway BP loses appeal to stay open; battle heading to court

City mandate: Troubled E. Broadway BP must shut down

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's the downtown gas station where police say a clerk shot a homeless man in May. The East Broadway BP in Louisville's Smoketown neighborhood has faced numerous other violations for more than a year.

The city's Code Enforcement Board decided BP had reached the threshold for criminal activity, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. They announced it needs to shut down.

But the store's attorney is planning to appeal in court.

That started Friday, as an attorney for BP argued at an appeal hearing in front of Code Enforcement.

The city said business owners had multiple chances to stay out of trouble with the city. Code Enforcement officers call it a nuisance and ordered it vacated.

"Never once have I seen security," Louisville Metro Police Officer Shaun Sargent said during testimony to the board.

Sargent described his constant crime runs -- mostly alcohol or drug related -- to the BP at 601 East Broadway.

"As I call it," he said, "it's one of the armpits of my beat."

Despite warnings for more than a year, the calls keep coming, including in May when a clerk told police he accidentally shot an unarmed man inside the store.

The cost to taxpayers? An estimated $100,000 for calls to the store and the area around it.

The store's manager cited the growing homeless population as the problem.

"I lose a lot of business from those homeless people," Manager Maher Ghareen told the board.

The city attorney pointed out the store attracts homeless men and women by selling single beers. Police officers said they were told employees give homeless people food and beer to clean the parking lot.

Officers said runs to the nearby Thornton's at 1st and Broadway don't hold a candle to the BP.

"We've had code enforcement officers complaining about this particular facility for more than a year," City Attorney Matthew Golden said. "This is not the first time this man has been before the board."

An enforcement officer said BP operators keep making promises to hire security, but have not. During the appeal, BP's owners presented a security firm representative they plan to hire.

The board offered a deal -- 30 days to turn the store around and stop selling single beers.

Their attorney said no, because across the street from BP, East Coast liquors sells single beers.

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"If the patron walks on our lot, we're going to be held responsible and that would be considered a violation?" Attorney Nader George Shunnarah asked incredulously. "That's just setting us up to fail."

Shunnarah added he's headed to court to appeal, saying Louisville's amended public nuisance ordinance that now includes criminal activity, has nothing to do with the BP owners. He said the store is in a high crime area.

"The police force is called down there (to the BP), I think there was a report that it was 1,300 times," Shunnarah said. "If the police can't stop the problems in the neighborhood, how are they (BP owners) expected to stop the problems in the neighborhood?"

Shunnarah hopes to file the appeal to the city's amended nuisance ordinance by Monday.

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