By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Judgement day has come in a fight over fuel in Sacramento.

A Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that the Sacramento City Council’s vote denying construction of a controversial gas station was unlawful and that one councilmember was even “coaching” opponents of the gas station through the political process.

Paul Petrovich is the developer who requested a conditional use permit to build a Safeway gas station, alongside a grocery store in a Curtis Park development called “Crocker Village.”

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CBS13 asked Petrovich if he feels vindicated by the judge’s ruling.

“Yes I do,” Petrovich said.

Petrovich’s court win comes after Sacramento City Hall denied him a conditional use permit for a gas station at his massive Curtis Park development.

A judge ruled Petrovich proved Councilmember Jay Schenirer was biased when he voted with others to deny the permit and worked behind the scenes to coach the president of the surrounding Sierra Curtis Park Neighborhood Association how to successfully oppose the project.

“This is about the second largest infill project in the city being derailed for two years,” Petrovich said.

In his ruling, Judge Michael Kenny wrote:

“The court recognizes that politics can be messy,” however in this matter “…Councilmember Schenirer was no longer a neutral, unbiased decision maker.”

Schenirer declined to comment.

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Sierra Curtis Park Neighborhood Association president Eric Johnson issued a statement, reading:

“I’m looking forward to going back to the council with the same facts to get the same verdict.”

The Crocker Village development sits on 72 acres in Curtis Park. An empty field sits where the Safeway was promised to homebuyers like Don Katz.

“One of the selling points was that there was going to be a shopping center with Safeway within a year; so it’s going on three,” Katz said.

The judge ruled city councilmembers must provide a new fair hearing for the Safeway gas station, in which councilmember Schenirer must recuse himself.

“Safeway’s still in the mix, but every day that goes by, the damages keep mounting higher and higher and higher,” Petrovich said.

The Sacramento city attorney issued a statement that he maintains councilmember Schenirer was not unbiased, and the city is reviewing its options.

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