BEAUFORT – Jim Dandy Stores and Davis Fuels are planning a community convenience store and gas station on Lennoxville Road, which company president Jim Davis says is supposed to provide a “needed service” to the city.
The company has requested a special use permit for a lot at 1550, chemin Lennoville for its community store and gas station, which is due to appear before the Beaufort Planning Council for a public hearing on Monday. Afterwards, the request will go to the Council of Commissioners. The decision to install a station on Lennoxville Road, however, aroused public anger.
Mr Davis said he has been looking for a location to build a new Jim Dandy in Beaufort since the 1990s. In an interview Tuesday with the News-Times, he said he missed a first opportunity to buy the lot on Lennoxville Road when Tom Potter Oil owned it.
“We have looked at this property on several occasions,” Mr. Davis said. “The last time was six months ago.”
He also said they had looked at other locations but were either unsuitable or unavailable. Among these locations were across from Beaufort High School, Huntley Plaza and next to McDonald’s on Live Oak Street.
As of Tuesday, the Lennoxville Road lot has been the location of the Austin Veterinary Clinic, which is ready to move the practice to 102 Professional Park Drive.
Mr Davis is currently under contract to purchase the land, where he hopes to open the station in May.
According to the design documents, the proposed gas station will have four pumps with a total of eight draw locations. The store will have parking for motor vehicles, golf carts and bicycles. Mr Davis said the store’s facade and design are meant to “stay less commercial” and blend in with the neighborhood.
Some Beaufort residents, however, have expressed concerns about the business. potentially increase traffic and affect the local environment and public health.
On Tuesday, Mr Davis said he did not expect traffic to increase due to the presence of his proposed store and station.
“We’re going to provide a place for people to get things so that they don’t have to drive through town,” he said. “We are not here to attract traffic, we are here to welcome what already exists in this area. “
Mr Davis went on to say that the concept behind the community store is ease of access for existing travelers in the area.
“If people don’t come to Lennoxville, they probably won’t come to this store,” he said.
Wilson Creek Realty representative Sam Barnes, who is representing Mr Davis’ company on the project, said Tuesday that he believed any increase in traffic in the Lennoxville Road area would be the result of residential development, and no of the project proposed by Mr. Davis. Lennoxville is home to Beau Coast, a huge residential development, as well as Front Street Village and Beaufort Hotel NC nearby.
Responding to concerns about the environment and public health, Mr Davis said state officials have “very strict restrictions on how we set up these (refueling) systems that are specifically aimed at protecting the environment and community around these service stations ”.
“Our intention is to provide a necessary service to the city of Beaufort,” he said. “The way it was viewed was a challenge. We’re not a big business, we’re a small business. Beaufort needs businesses to support its growth.
Mr Barnes echoed Mr Davis’ statements. He said they tried on several occasions to involve the community in the project “to get their opinion on the design of this facility.”
“We knew when we started this there would be legitimate community concerns,” Mr. Barnes said.
At Monday’s council of commissioners meeting, city attorney Arey Grady advised council on quasi-judicial proceedings, such as those relating to a special use permit, and reminded commissioners that they should not are not allowed to discuss such matters or form an opinion before the hearing. under the law. He didn’t say his advice was specifically on the Jim Dandy special-purpose app.
“This is the opposite of what elected officials are supposed to do and usually do,” Grady said. “You like the contribution of voters and citizens. You like to know what people think about a particular legislative decision or a particular city case … but when it comes to quasi-judicial proceedings we have to take the opposite position … we have to be able to say “I can’t tell you about it informally. It is a violation of my obligations. This is a special type of procedure.
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email [email protected]; or follow us on Twitter at @mikesccnt.