Beaufort commission denies special-use permit for Jim Dandy on Lennoxville Road

The sun sets Monday evening over 1550 Lennoxville Road in Beaufort. Town commissioners voted 4-1 to deny a special-use permit to Jim Dandy Convenience Stores, which wanted to put a fueling and market location on the property. (Contributed photo)

BEAUFORT — A high-profile special-use permit application for a gas and convenience station along a residential stretch of Lennoxville Road was swiftly denied by the Beaufort Board of Commissioners Monday night, ending weeks of testimony and public back-and-forth over the business proposal.

In his motion to deny the permit, which carried 4-1, Commissioner John Hagle cited the project’s lack of compatibility with the surrounding area – largely single-family homes – and with the town’s future land-use plan.

Commissioner Ann Carter cast the sole dissenting vote, and none of the board members, nor Mayor Rett Newton, commented on the matter before wrapping Monday’s work session, which was held virtually via Zoom.

The denial is a victory for many neighbors in the area of 1550 Lennoxville Road, who have voiced a number of concerns – not limited to the health and safety of area residents, a potential decline in property values in the immediate vicinity, worries over increased light and noise and that the application did not meet the standards outlined for the board to issue such a permit.  

“We are so appreciative to the Planning Board & the Board of Commissioners for upholding Beaufort’s land use ordinances,” Laurie Cunningham, of 100 Beaufort Walk, told the News-Times. “These ordinances are developed to provide appropriate community growth & to protect every citizen from development that would adversely impact their neighborhood, health, environment & safety.”

Another neighbor, Marilyn Green of Cara Lane, said she was surprised by the board’s ruling.

“I was shocked and amazed at the decision and immediately sent a thank you email to the commissioners to thank them for doing the right thing for the residents of Beaufort.  All the homeowners' efforts seem to have paid off,” she said, noting other uses for the site she found agreeable could be a small grocery/health food store, a medical practice or personal care outlet.

In accordance with the law, the Beaufort commission needed to make seven findings regarding the application. They include that the use is allowed in the zoning district (in this case, L-1), the application is complete, the use conforms with the land-use plan and other planning documents, traffic control is found to be adequate, the use won’t “substantially injure” neighboring properties, the use is in harmony with the immediate area and that the use does not “materially endanger” the public.

Monday’s denial by commissioners tracks with the town planning board’s July 19 recommendation to do so.

“If you look across the street at both sides of this, it’s residential, and the future land-use (plan) shows that also,” Commissioner Hagle noted.

The denial means Beaufort will continue to be home to just one gas station – a Speedway located off Live Oak Street. In forwarding his proposal, Jim Dandy Convenience Stores President Jim Davis said he was seeking to fill a void in the community – particularly the need for residents to have easy access to gasoline following major storms.

Mr. Davis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monday’s testimony wound down a multi-month quasi-judicial hearing process during which the board delayed a decision more than once in order to hear more testimony and give themselves a chance to marinate on the evidence submitted.

At issue Monday were the potential traffic impacts if the lot were transformed from the thriving veterinary clinic it houses now to a fueling station and store. The board heard testimony from experts representing both the applicant and neighbors – both of whom identified as qualified traffic engineers.

Mr. Newton did not allow further testimony from area residents with so-called standing nor an attorney representing them.

Monday’s denial was not unanimous – Ms. Carter, who voted against the motion to deny the permit, said Tuesday morning she had been prepared to support it.

“In my opinion the special use request met the requirements of the Special Use Ordinance. … I tried to base my vote on ordinance requirements and making sure they were met rather than based on opinion or personal preference,” she noted.

 Contact Jackie Starkey at 252-726-7081, ext. 225; email jackie@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @jackieccnt.

 

Reporter's note: This article was updated at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, to add a full report.

(10) comments

David Collins

Does this mean that this circus is over ?

Sandman

Wow…. They listened to the concerns of the people about the Jim dandy store and it’s harmful benzene fumes, yet most of the homes around that location all have garages which they park cars and lawn mowers. Guess carbon monoxide isn’t as bad as gas fumes. Too bad that the commissioners didn’t listen to the people when they decided to sale the county water system. Guess that really shows who matters and who doesn’t. Now everybody can enjoy the long line at the speedway the next time a storm comes through.

David Collins

Doubt it has anything to do with benzine fumes . Bet ya someone else has their eye on said property .

Mr. Tom Slick

So there is ONE station in Beaufort to purchase gasoline and now our commissioners have stopped progress of a second. Hmmmm maybe we can get the Sheriffs office another raise...……...

ditdot1984

It seems that the only thing Beaufort is interested is more housing. The residents better bring their bikes, electric cars or walking shoes 'cause that's the only options with one gas station in town. One more storm like Florence and these

"environmental saviors" will have a tank so fast in their yards it's not funny.

Sandman

And they will complain about the ONE gas station that runs out of gas and the trucks can’t deliver when it is needed.

Sandman

But I bet you that when somebody wants to set up new subdivisions and overcrowd the town, the commissioners both city and county will ignore all the people’s concerns and with their good ok boys ways allow any and every permit to be granted with no questions asked.

adam

How many of you ride to walmart in morehead multiple times a week to buy your food and incidentals and then go to lowes and buy building materials and other incidentals. How many gas stations do you pass? Wha wha wha. I ride 10 miles one way to the nearest gas station. Cry cry cry!

(Edited by staff.)

ditdot1984

I agree with you Adam, however, the issue in Beaufort is that the one gas station presently in town is out of product frequently. It's more about safety during emergencies than convenience. Imagine one grocery store to serve Beaufort that's always out of milk. It's crazy to me to consistently add more housing without the infrastructure and commerce to serve the population that's already there.

I vakansiyalar

A potential decline in property values in the immediate vicinity.

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