Stop the Gas Station Project in Old Torrance – Guest Commentary from Citizens Group “I Love Old Torrance”

Tower Energy wants to build a huge Gas Station/Mini-Mart that sells Beer, Wine, Cigarettes, Fried Chicken (cooked on site), and, eventually, Hard Liquor.  Location is on Carson between Gramercy & Andreo, in the middle of original Torrance, across from Historic Downtown, NOT at a major intersection, near THS.  Proposed Hours: 365 days a year, 5:00am – 11:30pm.

Reasons to Protest:

Traffic Congestion:  If you travel on Carson, a project of this size will increase your commute time.  Carson is already a heavily congested street, especially during key times each day, and whenever there is a train.  This will make it worse for everyone that travels on Carson including nearby schools, churches, businesses, emergency services, and neighbors.

Increased Traffic on small residential side streets and alleys:  These narrow streets and alleys are NOT designed for heavy, speeding traffic.  This project will send much traffic into our neighborhoods.  We will lose much street parking, too.

Narrow Streets:  Our streets are old and narrow.  There is not room for gasoline tankers or delivery trucks.  There is not even room for 2 cars going in opposite directions to pass each other.  One car must pull to the side in order for the other to pass.  Only locals know that.  How often will there be two cars “stuck” until one of them backs up?

More cars moving at higher speeds on side streets and alleys will lead to property loss and potential loss of life: Our sidewalks are filled with children playing, dogs being walked, and people exercising.  Drivers speeding through our neighborhood will see our streets as thoroughfares. Most will NOT be mindful that this is a neighborhood.  Sooner or later a speeding car will collide with a child, a bicyclist, another car, etc.   This is a great liability for the City, too.

We already have plenty of established gas stations, liquor stores, and mini marts in the area, plus a large Ralphs nearby.

Irresponsible drivers, including those under the influence, will increase.

Gas Pumps, Underground Storage Tanks, Fumes, and Leaks are all hazards which exponentially increase the risk for explosions, fires, and many environmental & health issues.  We have multiple cancer survivors in the immediate vicinity.

This is a historic area with many unique 100 year old plus houses and businesses.  These are the foundation of Torrance’s unique history.  All nearby structures (old and new) will be put at risk if Tower’s project is approved.

Backwards “Progress”: Torrance has installed electric charging stations throughout the city.  Why go backwards and approve a new fossil fuel gas station?  A new gas station comes with many short term and long term risks, along with hazards that will be around long after the last fossil fuel car leaves the road.  Many countries and 8 states including CA have already banned the sales of fossil fuel vehicles.  Bans range from 2025 – 2050, depending on the Country/State.

Crime increases and Loitering increases at Gas Stations and places that sell alcohol “to go”.  Tower says they won’t let vagrants linger on their property, which will push them onto our properties.

The current site is peaceful, dark, and quiet at night.  Tower’s plan, with operating hours from 5am – 11:30pm, 365 days a year will bring significant noise and light pollution, as well as the smell of Fried Chicken every day!

Accidents will increase on both Carson and side streets, which will cause further congestion from emergency vehicles.

Issue will be discussed by the Planning Commission at its upcoming meeting on September 20, 2017 at 7 pm.


  • Linda Gottshall-Sayed

    I am curious. What is the site presently zoned for? Residential? Commercial? Industrial? I ask this because the Planning Commission will refer to the General Plan in reviewing the matter. Another issue to consider? The property rights of the property owner. If this type of “use” is already permitted in the zoned parcel, then by denying the property owner the right to use their property/develop their property within the confines of said zoning would be unfair. However … assuming the property owner is looking for a “variance” or a change in the zoning to accomplish these objectives, I would not be in favor of this project. I don’t reside in Old Torrance, but as a resident of Torrance, I take pride in the character of the historic homes and architecture in this area and the project described sounds hideous, out of place, unjustified, unsafe (underground toxic storage fuel tanks) and not in keeping with the forward thinking Clint Paulson describes, such as the evolving use of electric vehicles.

    • Julie

      We can give you all the details if you like. In a nutshell, it is zoned commercially, but not for a gas station. The Planning Commission meeting was to approve or deny a Conditional Use Permit. It is also five lots that need to be consolidated. It will be a commercial site, but it does not have to be a gas station. This must be approved separately. Email if you would like more detailed information.

  • Sarah

    What a shame! Old Torrance should be designed like Old Town Pasadena OR Orange to reflect the uniqueness of Torrance!
    City elected officials continue to ignore this idea! Yet building more Gas Stations or Multiple residents in small areas seems to be their idea of “good” business!
    Ugh! Looking forward to cleaning the council offices and bringing in new ideas not bound to special interests!
    Tired of the old Torrance City Council!

  • Julie

    I oppose this project for many reasons, but the most important one is safety. This is a small, unsafe, non-signal intersection. This project will cause congestion and most likely, accidents. There is not even a crosswalk. In addition, this will be the only gas station in Torrance that will not have easy access if there is a gas fire while a train is blocking Carson Street. The way around the train over by the old Ball factory adds a LOT of time for fire trucks. It’s bad enough that the response time for house fires can be greatly delayed, but with a gas station fire this delay would be disastrous.

  • Lisa

    I am opposed to this project. We live in the 21st century and to try to put a mega gas station within 50 feet of homes, no matter how it was zoned who knows how many years ago, is absurd. And to allow a conditional use permit to make it happen is even more absurd. It is not safe, or prudent and this project needs to be rejected. Historic Old Torrance is just simply not capable of supporting this type of project.

  • Louis

    I oppose putting a gas station here on Carson street.
    I’m a business owner in this area and I live in this area. I’m very much aware of the traffic on this section of Carson and the Downtown area.
    This gas station will be increasing traffic and vehicle / pedestrian accidents on Carson. Base on Tower Energy’s plan, 1000 cars per day will be pulling in and out of this non-signaled intersection.

  • Clara

    Old Torrance needs to be designed like Old Town Pasadena!! If the city council only thinks about money, then having the area designed, would bring more visitors and increase local business to the area. Instead of crime, light pollution, safety hazard, and the smell of friend chicken.

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