Sheetz Continues to Draw Debate

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Residents near New Hope and Buffaloe roads Wednesday spoke against a rezoning that will bring a Sheetz gas station to their community.

Members of the Comprehensive Planning Committee Wednesday reviewed the proposed rezoning of a 6-acre lot at the corner of New Hope and Buffaloe roads.

The rezoning will change the lot from Residential-6 to Neighborhood Business Conditional Use, allowing a new Sheetz gas station to be built.

Half a dozen nearby residents spoke against the station, arguing the business does not fit in the neighborhood.

“This gas station will draw a lot of vehicular traffic. It is not pedestrian friendly,” said resident Michi Vojta.

Applicant Dean Marion has attempted to placate residents by offering conditions such as limiting the fueling station to 12 pumps, limiting building height to 40 feet, and adding crosswalks to increase and encourage a pedestrian friendly community.

Marion’s attorney, Mack Paul, said an increase in traffic is likely, but said the applicant is working to “take it down to the absolute minimum while still constructing a viable business.”

However, residents said the conditions offered are insufficient and the station will not fit their residential community.

Residents also argued there is no need for a gas station on the lot, with nearby Capital Boulevard offering an abundance of fueling stations and convenience stores.

Not all residents were against the Sheetz construction. Joan Edwards, who owns the property on which Sheetz could be built, said she is “appalled by the residents’ reactions. I do not understand why they are all so upset.”

Edwards said she is selling the land for family reasons.

Another nearby resident commented that rezoning and changing land use is the logical next step.

“If the construction meets all of the city’s requirements, it should be approved,” he said.

Councilor John Odom said he wants business to develop in his district, but does not necessarily want that business to be a gas station.

“I do not want this to become another Capital Boulevard,” Odom said.

Councilman Russ Stephenson expressed concern that Sheetz representatives seem unwilling to limit the hours of operation.

“People in this neighborhood are asleep at 3 a.m.,” he said.

He said while gas stations do fall under the category of neighborhood business, it does not fit his definition in this case.

At the close of the discussion, Stephenson questioned whether the applicant would be willing to exclude gas stations altogether in the lot development.

Paul hesitated, then said that would fundamentally change the case. The discussion will continue at the Comprehensive Planning Committee’s next meeting at 4 p.m. July 24.

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