BEAUFORT — Some Beaufort residents are voicing opposition to a proposed gas station on Lennoxville Road, including through creation of a new website.
The town planning board is scheduled to hold a public hearing at its regular meeting Monday, July 19 on an application for a special-use permit for the lot at 1550 Lennoxville Road. Jim Dandy Stores is proposing to put a gas station and convenience store on the lot, which is currently the site of Austin Veterinary Animal Hospital.
However, several residents in the neighborhood don’t think a gas station is appropriate for the site.
Beaufort resident Kay Carter said in an email Thursday to the News-Times said there is a “growing opposition to the special-use permit request.”
“The families who oppose the station are circulating petitions, writing letters and have created a very informative website,” Ms. Carter said. “Of particular concern is the planning board’s reversal on holding an in-person meeting to allow public input. (Beaufort planning and inspections director) Kyle Garner has decided to hold a Zoom meeting instead, which is grossly unfair to the interested parties who want to voice their concerns in a public forum.”
Mr. Garner, in an interview Thursday with the News-Times, said while he’s sorry if some people feel the online meeting format is unfair, “we’ve been using this platform (Zoom) for over a year and a half now.”
Mr. Garner added the town board of commissioners will discuss the format of municipal meetings – namely whether to continue with online meetings, go back to in-person meetings or have a hybrid of both formats – at its work session Monday, July 26.
Residents also have the option to email their comments. Contact information for the Beaufort planning and inspections staff is available on the website beaufortnc.org/planninginspections/page/planning-staff.
“Any comments they (residents) have sent by email will make it to the planning board,” Mr. Garner said. As of Thursday, Mr. Garner had received more than 100 emails with comments regarding the special-use permit application. Some residents have sent more than one email.
“We’re putting out an information letter, as well as our (July 19 meeting) agenda packet, which will include every email we’ve received,” Mr. Garner said.
The town planning board was originally scheduled to hold a public hearing on the special-use permit for the proposed gas station during its meeting in June, but tabled the matter at the request of Mr. Garner. Despite the move, some residents spoke during the public comment period of the June meeting to share their initial thoughts.
Meanwhile, the website Ms. Carter referred to is nojimdandylennoxville.org. According to the website, its creators recognize the need for an additional gas station in Beaufort but think the location on Lennoxville Road under consideration would negatively affect the residential neighborhood there.
“There are other areas in Beaufort that are more appropriate and safer for this type of business,” the website says.
The key issues of concern cited on the website include:
· Increased traffic.
· Potential environmental effects.
· Noise and light pollution.
· The potential for crime.
· Health and safety concerns.
· Fire risks.
· Uncertainty of how the property will be used in the future.
· A lack of compatibility with the town’s land-use plan and the character of the town.
The website also includes links to join a mailing list to follow the matter and to generate an email to town officials opposing the special-use permit.
News-Times staff reached out Thursday to Jim Dandy Stores and Davis Fuels president Jim Davis III for comment. Mr. Davis requested to meet in-person with News-Times staff at a later date to discuss the project.
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.