Petrocity expansion stalls in tiff with Karen residents

Motorists driving past Petrocity fuel station in Nyali. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Local energy firm Petrocity has hit a snag in its expansion plans, as a Karen resident is challenging National Environment Management Authority (Nema) approvals issued to the firm in respect of a large scale development in the Nairobi suburb.

Susan Wanjiku Riunga has appealed against approvals Nema granted in November 2021 and which allowed Petrocity to construct a tier 3 petrol station which would border her land and that of Nyumbani Children’s Home in Karen.

Petrol stations in Kenya are classified in tiers ranging from one to four, depending on the size of land occupied. Tier one is the smallest size, while four is the largest.

Petrocity intends to build a station with three fuel pump isles under a canopy, four underground storage tanks, a vehicle service bay, a supermarket, convenience store, restaurant, bar and other amenities.

The project is being undertaken by Petrocity’s sister company, Sutton Holdings Limited.

Ms Riunga has filed an appeal at the National Environment Tribunal, arguing that the Energy Act prohibits the construction of such large scale projects on small pieces of land.

Petrocity plans to put up its project on 0.9 acres.

Ms Riunga argues that Karen is a controlled area under an agreement between the Karen Langata Residents Association and Nairobi County and that ventures such as bars could result in noise pollution for the station’s neighbours.

She adds that Petrocity and Nema did not seek her views on the proposed project, yet her home borders the construction site.

Petrocity is yet to respond to the application.

“The Director-General, Nema violated my constitutional and statutory rights in failing to notify me of a process that was going to affect my property rights, failing to invite me to be heard on the process that was going to affect my property rights, failing to hear me during the process and failing to inform me of the decision,” Ms Riunga argues.

“There are contractual works already being undertaken on the suit property which is raising environmental and security concerns. I have and continue to reside in my home and the transformation of the neighbourhood into a commercial hub with bars, restaurants and a tier 3 petrol station is synonymous with an eviction notice”.

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