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Laie Chevron to close May 31

By Brenton Awa
Published On: May 21 2013 06:17:00 PM HST

Laie residents comment on the effects of Chevron's closing.

LAIE -

Laie Chevron is one of the few remaining gas stations on the north shore. It's been a mainstay for more than 30 years. Now it's about to be torn down and replaced by a hotel.

"I think it will be a big burden for this community," says Robert Ah Puck. "If you go down to Ka'a'awa you can see how busy that gas station is already, and so imagine the overflow from this gas station to Ka'a'awa, that's too much."

Residents of the community will soon have only the Vula Express in Kahuku as their nearest place to fuel up. The next nearest gas station after that is around 10 miles away in either direction of Kamehameha highway.

That's the equivalent of having Kailua residents drive to Kalihi to fuel up, or Mililani residents making the drive to Aiea to do the same.

In Chul Kang has owned Chevron Laie for 18 years. He says his station services more than 800 customers daily just for gas and another 500 through the convenience store. He says his location is one of the busiest stations on the Windward side and sells around 110,000 gallons of gasoline per month.

An executive from HRI tells KITV4 that the Laie Chevron has been on a month to month lease since January. The property managers do plan on bringing in a new gas station at the Laie shopping center.

"What we said all along was that we were going to try to leave the Chevron open as long as possible and try to minimize the gap in service," says Steve Keali'iwahamana Hoag, vice president of Hawaii Reserves Inc. "We understand peoples concerns, we live here in the community as well so we've been working hard to try and finalize an agreement with a new developer."

But some residents are worried about the gap in service. Chevron closes on May 31.

"I'm scared their going to take down the gas station and it may be months or years before we see a new gas station," says Ah Puck. "It really makes me sad because the community has to suffer."

Kang says if another gas station developer decides to build at Laie shopping center, it won't be a Chevron.

"Cost is too high, approximately $3.5 million, so it's too high so Chevron decided not to build anymore," said Kang.

But HRI executives say they've been negotiating with a gas station developer for two years, and believe they're close to signing an agreement.

They say the Laie shopping center is zoned to allow a gas station. If an agreement is reached, they say construction could start as soon as this year but nothing is for sure.

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