NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — People who live around Kimball Elementary School in National City have won a long-standing struggle with Steve’s West Coast Automotive, an auto repair shop across the street.
As of last week, the business in the 1700 block of Coolidge Avenue was told to shut its doors and move on, a decision hailed as a victory for residents and the environmental movement. The shop had been in business for more than 11 years.
Residents had complained for years that the shop was polluting the environment, saying it was partly responsible for an unusual number of asthma and other respiratory illnesses in the area.
“You have fumes that are being sent to the community, to the school, and residents have to breathe that every day 24/7. Imagine what that does to the lungs of little children. It’s going to impact their lives forever,” said Carolina Martinez of the Environmental Health Coalition, which had been working with residents and the city of National City to move the shop.
The shop’s owner, Esteban Vasquez, said he’ll shut down as soon as they finish work on several cars still on the property.
He also told FOX 5 the move has been difficult because he has not been able to find another location that the city will approve. Vasquez says it’s not fair and that five people, mechanics at the shop, are likely to lose their livelihood.