BEAUFORT — After briefly continuing a special hearing on the matter Monday, the Beaufort Board of Commissioners agreed to again postpone a decision on a permit for a gas station on Lennoxville Road.
The board consented to push a determination on a request from Jim Dandy Convenience Stores President Jim Davis for a special-use permit to allow a gas station at 1550 Lennoxville Road until the Monday, Sept. 13 board meeting.
The action was continued from the Aug. 9 meeting, during which commissioners requested Mr. Davis provide a traffic study and more detailed information on the environmental impacts.
“I would like to see them be able to have an opportunity to gather their information, and I understand that there’s going to be some time constraints in doing so,” Commissioner Sharon Harker noted.
If granted, the permit would allow Jim Dandy Convenience Stores to retool the lot – currently the home of Austin Veterinary Animal Hospital – into a fueling station and convenience store. The parcel is in a rapidly developing stretch of town and is surrounded by residential properties.
Those neighbors have launched fierce opposition to the gas station and corresponding special-use permit, asking the board to deny it on several grounds, including health and environmental concerns associated with such businesses, worry over the project decreasing their property values and conformity with the town’s future planning.
During such hearings, only the applicant, expert witnesses and individuals the town deems to have standing are allowed to testify. Monday, five neighbors who claimed standing applied to speak, but were turned down by Mayor Rett Newton after they reported they were not giving new or expert testimony on two topics, environmental impact and traffic regulation.
Mr. Davis, two of his representatives and one expert witness introduced by opposing neighbors, engineer Dr. Zach Bugg, were allowed to speak.
During a brief presentation, Dr. Bugg introduced some analysis of the site plan, including feedback on traffic access to the site and thoughts on adequacy of the parking.
Sam Barnes, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said they were squeezed to provide a traffic study and other information in time for Monday’s hearing.
“We are also prepared, at this point, if the special-use permit is granted, to enter into the permitting process, which we all know will really dictate the stringent levels of approval and regulation both on these two topics,” he noted.
Commissioners expressed no interest in approving the permit without the requested traffic study and environmental review.
“I would suggest that we delay until we get the complete information from the applicant,” Commissioner Ann Carter said.
To issue a special-use permit, the board must make six findings outlined by state law.
In other action at Monday’s work session, the board:
- Approved a water rate increase for customers in Eastman Creek subdivision to pass along costs from Carteret County’s recent rate increase.
- Unanimously approved spending $198,500 to replace the town’s sweeper truck.
- Heard updates from staff on several ongoing projects.
- Reviewed the July financial report.
- Unanimously approved a $7,000 budget amendment to pay for the striping of on-street parking spaces downtown.
- Agreed to consider minutes from the June 14 meeting and June 28 work session as part of the Sept. 13 consent agenda.
- Scheduled a public hearing for a request to rezone 302 Cedar St. from B-1 (business) to R-8 (residential) for Sept. 13.
- Agreed to review a $323,271.33 change order for the ongoing street rehabilitation and sidewalk effort and an appointment to the parks and recreation advisory board at the Sept. 13 meeting.
Contact Jackie Starkey at 252-726-7081, ext. 225; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter @jackieccnt.