§ 36–304.01. Prohibition on conversions.
(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “full service retail service station” means any retail service station location which provides a garage, service bay, work area, or similar enclosed area for repairing, maintaining, servicing, or otherwise working on motor vehicles, or any service islands. Such repair, maintenance, and service work may include, but is not limited to, the installation or replacement of batteries, tires, fan belts, lights, brakes, water pumps, mufflers and other parts and accessories and the performance of motor oil changes, lubrications, wheel alignments, tune-ups, tire repairs, brake adjustments, and general repair and maintenance work and services.
(b) No retail service station which is operated as a full service retail service station on or after April 19, 1977, may be structurally altered, modified, or otherwise converted, irrespective of the type or magnitude of the alteration, modification, or conversion, including, but not limited to, any alteration, modification, or conversion which has the effect of merely obstructing access to an existing garage, service bay, work area, or similar enclosed area by any motor vehicle which was previously accommodated, into a nonfull service facility or into any other use.
(c) No person who is an operator of any full service retail service station on or after April 19, 1977, including any person who is a subsequent operator of any such retail service station, or who, in any manner, controls the operation of any such retail service station, shall substantially reduce the number, types, quantity, or quality of the repair, maintenance, and other services, including the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products, previously offered. Such operators shall maintain the retail service station’s existing garages, service bays, work areas, and similar areas in a fully operational condition and reasonably equipped to perform repair, maintenance, and service work on motor vehicles, including the provision of a qualified individual or individuals who is or are capable of performing repair, maintenance, and service work on motor vehicles during a reasonable number of hours per day and of days per week. This subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting any person who operates or controls a full service retail service station from discontinuing the retail sale of motor fuels at such retail service station, provided that less than 20% of such retail service station’s gross revenue derived from the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products and from the repair, maintenance, and servicing of motor vehicles is derived from the retail sale of motor fuels, and provided further that such discontinuance of the retail sale of motor fuels shall not authorize any other substantial reduction in repair, maintenance, or other services previously offered. This subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting a full service retail service station from selling motor fuels on a self-service basis, provided that such retail service station continues to sell motor fuels on a nonself-service basis.
(d)(1) An exemption may be granted to the prohibitions contained in subsections (b) and (c) of this section if:
(A) A petition for exemption has been filed with the Director of the Department of Energy and Environment ("DOEE") by both a distributor and a retail dealer (collectively referred to as “petitioners”) that complies with the requirements of paragraph (2) of this subsection;
(B) DOEE makes a determination, pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection, that an exemption should be granted ; and
(2) To be considered for an exemption under this subsection, petitioners must file a petition with DOEE that includes:
(A) If the petition for exemption involves the conversion of a full service retail service station into a non-full service retail service station, plans illustrating that the station will be improved for customer convenience or accessibility;
(B) Any existing site market studies that justify the conversion;
(C) Certification that petitioners have notified the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (“ANC”) in which the station is located and any ANC within one-quarter mile of the station, and has met or offered to meet with any affected ANC before submission of the petition for exemption regarding their plans for the station and its impact on the neighborhood; and
(D) Certification by petitioners that, should the application be granted, any later changes to the building design or lighting will be submitted to any affected ANC before the application for building permits.
(3) The petition for exemption shall include any existing site market studies that justify the conversion.
(A) DOEE shall grant an exemption only if it finds that:
(i) The operator of the full service retail service station is experiencing extreme financial hardship; and
(ii) Another full service retail service station exists within one mile of the station which provides equivalent service facilities.
(B) In addition to the requirements in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, DOEE shall give due weight to the views of the community and the affected ANC.
(d-1) A distributor shall not attempt to threaten or coerce an operator of a full service retail service station into:
(1) Converting the station from a full service retail service station to a non-full service retail service station; or
(2) Submitting a petition for exemption from the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) of this section to DOEE.
(4) DOEE shall establish and publish, for 30 days comment, the rules and procedures which shall govern its conduct. DOEE may establish and publish, for 30 days comment, additional criteria which shall be used in reviewing the petitions for exemptions.
(f) The Mayor shall study the motor vehicle repair, maintenance, and other services being offered by existing full service retail stations and non-full service retail service stations to residents, commercial establishments, commuters, and other affected persons in the District of Columbia, both in terms of adequacy and in terms of convenience. This study shall include an analysis of the impact of converting existing full service retail service stations to non-full service retail service stations in various areas of the District of Columbia. The Mayor shall study the adequacy of existing retail service stations to serve the needs and convenience of residents, commercial establishments, commuters, and other affected persons with respect to the retail sale of motor fuels, petroleum products, and automotive products in various areas of the District of Columbia. The study shall include an examination of the petroleum products and automotive products being offered by commercial establishments other than retail service stations. The Mayor shall, if necessary, present to the Council a preliminary report within 30 days after September 21, 2000. A final report detailing the findings of the study, including the Mayor’s recommendations or proposals with respect to any necessary or desirable legislation or other actions, shall be submitted to the Council no later than June 1, 2001.
(g)(1) Any person, including the principal officers or agents of a corporation or association, who falsely certifies a petition for exemption, or willfully or knowingly fails to provide information required by this chapter, or intentionally provides misleading information required by this chapter, upon conviction, shall be subject to a fine of not less than $2,000, but not more than $5,000, for each offense.
(2) Any owner or operator of a retail service station who converts or causes the conversion of the retail service station without procuring an exemption pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a civil infraction, subject to a penalty of $20,000, and the license to operate the retail service station shall be suspended or revoked until such time as operation comes into compliance with this chapter. The Mayor may adjust the fine by rulemaking.
(3) Any owner or operator of a retail service station which, as of April 8, 2005, has been converted into a non-full service facility in violation of this section, shall have 90 days to either restore the facility to full service or obtain an exemption from the from DOEE pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any owner or operator who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be subject to a penalty of not less than $5,000 per day.
(h) DOEE shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue rules to implement the provisions of this section which shall include a requirement that each petition for exemption include an estimated date of completion for each phase of a full service retail station conversion.
(i) DOEE shall be the agency charged with the civil enforcement of this section. The adjudication of any civil infraction under this section shall be pursuant to Chapter 18A of Title 2 [§ 2-1831.01 et seq.].
(j) The Mayor shall notify DOEE of any building or construction permit application filed by or on behalf of an owner or operator of a full service retail service station. The Mayor shall provide a copy of the permit application within 10 days of receipt.