Residents gassed up over proposed convenience store
A proposed Sunoco gas station that the Board Of Zoning Appeals reviewed on Monday was met with dissension. Residents directly affected by the proposal were on hand to voice their opinion against it.
The property is owned by Lupert Adler and Preservation Row. This company is affiliated with Front Door Communities, the company that is building The Tributary residential development on Rivertowne Parkway.
The gas station is slated to be constructed at the south-west corner of Highway 41 and Rivertowne Parkway.
The case is under the category of “exemption” due to the fact that the original Rivertowne Planned Development, approved in 1994, would not allow it unless an exemption was made.
The Board of Zoning Appeals’ decisions are final and warrant no approval of the Planning Commission or the Mount Pleasant Town Council. The board voted to defer the proposal for 30 days.
Residents of the community touted safety and quality of life concerns about the store.
More than 1,000 residents use Rivertowne Parkway daily, as it is the only way in and out of the community. Communities within the neighborhood include Planter’s Pointe at Rivertowne, Rivertowne on the Wando, Rivertowne Country Club and the new Tributary development along Rivertowne Parkway among others. A future development along the parkway will be comprised of $380K-plus homes that will be directly next to the proposed station.
The station would be completed around June or over the summer of 2014. A right turn lane is slated for completion when the gas station is supposed to be completed.
There are currently two gas stations along Highway 41 and one at the corner of Highway 41 and Highway. 17.
The developers plan on having an entrance and exit from Rivertowne Parkway so customers can use the safety of a traffic light.
The station will be open 24 hours a day with food sales and outdoor seating.
The proposed use also meets the Rivertowne Planned Development requirement since no operations involving vehicle repairs, body or fender work, sale or rental of new or used cars or trucks, trailers of any type, or boats will be conducted on the site.
Pumps are will be back greater than 20-feet from the street line and the buffer will be increased to 25-feet, and plantings will be increased to make the buffer resemble a denser type buffer.
There will be no outside loudspeaker or amplified music systems utilized, unless authorized by a valid special event permit. All lights or lighting arrangements used for purposes of advertising or night operations must be directed away from adjoining or nearby residential properties; and lighting has been designed to be directed downward and away from adjoining or nearby properties.
Sidewalk connections have been provided to the proposed store and sidewalks through the site will allow pedestrian access to the adjacent commercial area (Wymberly Crossing). Bicycle racks placed on site will promote alternative means of transportation to access the site.
Citizens affected by the proposal told board members that Rivertowne already has challenging traffic at the intersection of Highway 41 and Rivertowne Parkway. There are almost 250 Planter’s Pointe homes that have direct access to this road where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour.
Currently, there is no dedicated right-hand turn lane to allow traffic from Rivertowne to exit onto Highway 41 south, however one is slasted to be constructed by Charleston County.
“During the 10-month school year, morning traffic backs up from the light past the Saltwood section of homes on Rivertowne Parkway (almost a quarter mile of traffic). In addition, we have traffic from cars leaving the Harris Teeter shopping center that choose to use the Rivertowne/Highway 41 light to exit and then enter onto 41 rather than take the risk of trying to make a left hand turn onto Highway 41 from the main entrance of Harris Teeter where there is no traffic light,” according to the Homeowner’s Association President Mark Valerio.
Residents who spoke out said the proposed 24-hour gas station increases the risk of a community robbery, fire or a fuel spill. Particularly in the case of a robbery, criminals could use the High Marsh and Tributary communities as an escape route when fleeing police.
Other concerns included loitering as well. But more importantly, Valerio said, “we believe that a 24-hour gas station in our community seriously compromises our quality of life and severely complicates the growing traffic at our only entrance and exit to our 20-year-old community.”