Oak Park gas stations will no longer be legally permitted to operate 24 hours a day. Under a newly adopted ordinance, the Village of Oak Park has mandated all gas stations close by 12 p.m. each night. The stations can open as early as 5 a.m.
The village board unanimously adopted the ordinance Sept. 19 as part of its consent agenda, but not without some pushback from the gas stations. David Jasmer, one of the attorneys representing Oak Park gas stations, spoke out against the ordinance, calling it “ripe” for a temporary restraining order.
“We will bring that if the board goes ahead and implements the ordinance,” Jasmer said.
The ordinance was born out of concerns regarding the safety of having 24-hour gas stations. The village has had a total of 18 violent offenses take place at gas stations in the last three and a half years; 13 of those offenses took place after midnight, including the murder of 18-year-old Jailyn Logan-Bledsoe in June.
“The individuals that own these gas stations believe in the same [safety] concerns and we feel that closing down the stations will have the opposite of the intended effect,” he said.
Jasmer argued that the ordinance would only serve to increase crime rather than eliminate it and will have the ultimate effect of mass gas station closures. The unlit stations will be left vulnerable, according to Jasmer, who referred to his clients as “essential businesses staffing essential workers” and members of the village’s small business community.
The village has been working with gas stations to reduce crime. Jasmer asked for the opportunity to continue doing that, while noting the stations have no reason to believe the ordinance will be successful in limiting lawbreaking.
“We feel there is no reasonable relationship, no causal connection that has been shown or documented by any statistics or other data to show that an overnight closure would have any impact at all on crime,” he said.
The looming threat of legal action failed to sway the village board against the ordinance. With the conclusion of Jasmer’s public comment, the board immediately voted unanimously to adopt the entire consent agenda.