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Controversial Chesapeake project moves ahead

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A controversial project by Chesapeake Energy gets the go ahead from leaders in Oklahoma City.

The city council gave the OK for Chesapeake to build a large CNG filling station and convenience store at N.W. 50th St. and Western Ave., right next to a historic neighborhood.

A gas station previously occupied this space and was recently torn down.

Those who live nearby knew they couldn't stop the project, but they do hope city leaders close down the stretch of 49th St. as a consolation.

JoEllen Aaron has lived in the adjacent neighborhood for 40 years.

As a concession for the city giving the go ahead to Chesapeake, she wants NW. 49th St. closed to keep traffic congestion from the filling station off her street.

"Our homes are our investment and we want to see that protected," Aaron said.

"You know this is a great project, but why here," Councilman Ed Shadid said.

Shadid voted against the plans, citing concerns from some neighbors, many afraid to speak out against Chesapeake.

"People have expressed privately this is too big for the neighborhood, but they wont say it publicly and that's a problem," Shadid said. 

On the other hand, some in the neighborhood did favor the development, fearing what else could be built if Chesapeake got turned away.

"We know we can trust Chesapeake. We know they keep their properties clean," one neighbor said.

"What they do is in good taste. No one is arguing that. We just want concessions to protect our home values," Aaron said.

The city will vote on whether to close N.W. 49th St. sometime in the future.

City leaders for their part remain divided on whether to grant that concession.