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LAURIE GOOCH, San Clemente
Gas station developers may be the most interested buyers for this land—now. However, this land does not have to be sold—now. The time to sell: when a developer who has a project of the highest and best use for this land is interested.
Even the staunchest proponent cannot claim a gas station is the highest and best use. If built, this gas station will service vehicles of soon-to-be-obsolete, internal combustion engines.
In 2035, an EV mandate requires all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California be zero-emission vehicles.
If built, this gas station will metamorphosize this land into a petroleum brownfield. Limited useful life and contamination are disqualifiers.
Not the highest and best use, not even a use to satisfy a want by providing a service missing and desired or to meet unmet demand.
This gas station will not be a destination. Crowds from surrounding communities will not be drawn to it. It will merely be one more gas station to add to our current supply—a simple change of habit by San Clemente residents who switch from buying gas at one neighborhood station to another.
Our city leaders must use time to our advantage, think long-term, cast a creative vision, end expediency—sacrificing excellence for ease and speed—and partner with the public.