Beaufort, N.C.

August 4, 2021

TO THE EDITOR:

On Aug. 9 the Beaufort Board of Commissioners will consider whether a Jim Dandy gas station and convenience store will be built where today’s Austin Vet Hospital sits on Lennoxville Road.

A recent writer to your paper asked, “Why Shouldn’t a Gas station go on Lennoxville Road?”

As a new homeowner on Beaufort Walk, scientist, and hopeful mother of a family on this street someday, let me answer this question your reader posed the residences near this gas station – we are extremely concerned for the health and safety of our environment and for our families.

I moved to Beaufort because I have a passion for our beautiful town. I am a Fisheries Biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where my life-long passion is preserving the environment. I have also worked at several local bars and volunteered in our community. I simply love Beaufort and our community.

My home is one of the many residences where Jim Davis plans to place 30,000-gallons of gas within 20 – 200 ft of our homes. In fact, over 200 Beaufortians are also close by. We have shared with the Beaufort Planning Board numerous reports from PhDs, toxicologists and epidemiologists, which delineate that close proximity to daily release of Benzene fumes (under 1,500 feet) causes leukemia in children. I also grow produce in my garden, which I donate to food pantries, and am concerned about the health impacts of these chemicals in our ecosystem.

We have met with Jim Davis to hear his vision for this convenience store and gas station. He was quoted in the News-Times saying he wants to build the station as a “commitment to community that I believe I exhibit in other markets.” But we researched his other stores. The NC Department of Environmental Quality records cite his company for numerous violations at existing Jim Dandy stores in our area:

• Failure to meet corrosion protection requirements

• Failure to provide leak detection monitoring

• Failure to complete primary operator training

• Failure to meet upgrade requirements

• Failure to provide periodic inspection of the lining of underground storage tanks within 10 years of installation

These serious violations pose dangers to public health and safety! If past history is any indication, can we expect the same lack of compliance at future Jim Dandy locations?

Furthermore, the town has confirmed this special use permit (if obtained) is transferable. That means even the best-intentioned Jim Davis can obtain the special use permit and turn around and sell this access to Shell, Speedway, or Sheetz by exploiting the neighbors’ health risks. Do we want to expose residential homes to this type of negligence and danger?

1550 Lennoxville used to be a gas station between 2003- 2008; however, this site was so poorly maintained that it required environmental clean-up actions for it to be safely used again. Where this previous gas station sat, should not be the “settled upon” location for a Jim Dandy when the surrounding area has changed since its residency. Our local environment has suffered enough from this type of pollution, please don’t repeat the past.

Beaufort desperately needs an additional gas station, but not in the middle of our neighborhood. The neighbors of 1550 Lennoxville Rd. would gladly help find another, more suitable location for a gas station in Beaufort that doesn’t present such dangerous hazards so close to home.

Board of Commissioners, please protect us! We are hopeful mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers of children of Beaufort. Please don’t locate an environmental hazard in the middle of a residential neighborhood, endangering more than 200 Beaufortians.

Thank you for protecting this community.

JAMIE CLARK

(16) comments

David Collins

Ah , yet more drama .

Now a days , above ground fuel tanks are the norm for any new fueling facility , especially in sensitive areas . That includes convenience stores . They are located inside of a spill holding device and vapor abatement is addressed as well . The authorities are pretty tenacious when it comes to this subject .

In years past those , your concerns did happen but they have been rigorously addressed and at great expense to the owners or through the Superfund . Taxpayers paid for it .

With all this said , it appears you made the choice to oppose this project for what ever reason and that is your prerogative . As overheated as the real estate market is today , you could vote with your feet and sell your residence , probably overnight and at a handy profit , and relocate to a safer location where you could breath easier . Now , you do not have to do this but the option is there . If the Dandy Project is not violating any rules/laws then there is no stopping it . Of course an old fashioned protest movement complete with clowns with signs and the press covering every move and word would certainly add to the effort .

This is just one of the drawbacks of relocating to an existing town with all the zoning districts scattered about . Always someone next door to a business but how else can it be ?

Won’t be too long and you will never notice that it is there . Probably even patronize the dandy .

By the way , yes those convenience stores and bought and sold on a schedule . A depreciation schedule . Playing the old tax game , just like everyone else .

Osprey

NIMBY

drewski

NIMBY, yes thats a good idea, but not in my backyard. The town is pretty well built out, so if there is to be another gas station where exactly shall it be? next to the mayor's property? next to the county commissioners? wealthy family of attorneys? Hmmm... that all seems unlikely, lets move far down the economic scale and find a suitable location for this noise, traffic, and and toxin filled business.

Isn't that how things work in the real world?

mpjeep

Really won't matter what is put in this location, someone will always complain.

As Mr. Collins correctly stated, as long as they are breaking no laws, gas stations are pretty safe these days. Let 'em build.

the secret life of man

We all lose on this one.Follow the money.The answer is in some else's bank account.

David Collins

Man , what do you have to lose ? Not like this is an end of all life scenario . It is a convenient store , just like thousands of others . My lord , get a grip . What ya gonna do if something REALLY bad comes around ?

drewski

Nc is not CA, with vapor recovery nozzles, that lil drip drip drip from the hose at each use adds up as well. Any clue what's actually in gas? Hint besides naptha, benzine, benzene, detergents its whatever waste floating around the refinery that day mixed in to dispose of it.

Don't fool yourselves that above ground tanks make gas stations free from pollutants, in the air and water.

Mr. Tom Slick

I would be thankful to have fuel so close to me. HA, then you would have an upper hand on those so called shortages that we used to, or hey what about gas prices less than 6 months ago, May I remind you when Biden took the oath office gas was at $1.87 a gallon. Oh never mind just put the station back on stop wasting our time.....

David Collins

No one ever said above ground tanks are pollution free . Heck , what is ? What they are is way more corrosion resistant than metal below ground tanks . Actually fiberglass tanks have replaced the old metal ones . We do love to put words in others mouths .

No , this is not California , at least not yet but some are trying as hard as they can to mirror that loony state . Been dripping gasoline since I was 16 and now 74 . Can’t be too bad . Want to make a statement , go electric if you dare . Yup , just jump headlong down that rabbit hole . What can go wrong ?

drewski

No words in others mouths, I will note that the ppl saying build it its fine etc live miles away from the site. Might be a different tune if it was next door to your casa?

Beaufort123

Well it turns out Convenience Stores are NOT allowed in an L1 zone and Jim Davis confirmed he needs the convenience store to make money....looks like it might be time to shop for a commercial property!!

David Collins

Not allowed , well ok , so be it . End of problem or perhaps not . Variances ! They are given out every day . The problem with them it is often devilishly hard to issue one to Peter with out issuing one to Paul and so forth . Strange this revelation came out so late in the game here . Do I smell a lawyer or two sniffing about ?

sick and tired

I certainly feel the pain of this letter. I was also extremely concerned for the health and safety of our environment and for our families when all that land was used to build the oaks, and all the other cool little subdivisions all up and down Lennoxville road. All that run off, all that extra pollution, all the wildlife that was destroyed, all the poor trees. Broke my heart. But "that's progress" as we were told. If this helps ease the concerns of the surrounding residents benzene is found in pretty much EVERYTHING that is in your house. Detergent, glues, paint, furniture wax, adhesives, rubbers, dry cleaning, plastics, nylon and synthetic fibers. Just to name a few. And the beat goes on.

David Collins

My heart was touched as well with all the drama displayed . Thankfully , not my head . Just the same liberal whining and tear wiping we have been exposed to for years . Everything is a end of life event if it is what they do not want . A close look at the whiners will reveal a multitude of Hypocrisies .

PINEYPOINTER

Was anyone complaining when the store and gas pumps were there before the vet.This is what ya got now with the dingbatters taking over....

(Edited by staff.)

Bluecollar

The answer is in the story . He’s other locations already have multiple violations that are not being taken care of

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