FORT MILL — Responding to vocal opponents of a plan to build a 7-Eleven near Doby’s Bridge Elementary School, the Town of Fort Mill and the convenience store company modified the project in hopes of allying fears over potential health risks and other concerns.
In a recent statement, the town said, “While this project has already met the review and approval criteria for siting, we take concerns from our residents seriously and have engaged with experts in the field. Town officials have met with numerous state and national agency experts including air quality and underground tank storage specialists from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, to ensure this project would meet or exceed all regulations.”
As a result, changes to the plan include orientating gas pumps away from the school and enhanced vapor recovery systems. The town had to vote to override zoning rules in place for over a decade before the changes could be made.
Fort Mill officials have said because the plans for the convenience store met zoning requirements already in place, there was little they could do to turn away the project. A plan that called for a non-conforming use could have given the town room to reject the proposal.
“The town recently voted to change overlay district guidelines, allowing the station’s orientation to be rotated placing the pumps and underground storage tanks on the Fort Mill Parkway side of the facility,” the statement says, adding, “The company has also decided to install additional vapor recovery systems, vegetation and other barriers to screen the property between the station and Doby’s Bridge Elementary School, which are not required by state or federal regulations.”
“Our stance remains, no gas station next to Doby’s Bridge Elementary School. We hope those who have clung to this position alongside us throughout the past few months will continue to support this effort,” the statement says.
One of the leaders of the opposition has posted a petition calling on residents to boycott the convenience store after it opens.