A gas station and convenience store won’t be built at Reedy Creek Plaza Shopping Center after the Cary Town Council unanimously denied a rezoning request Monday on the Northeast Maynard Road site.
Barnhill Contracting Company, a Rocky Mount-based business, requested rezoning about 1.93 acres at 950 NE Maynard Road, which is in front of the shopping center, to allow for a 24-hour gas station with a convenience store. They sought 6,000 square feet of retail sales and service space, which was expected to be occupied by Sheetz.
“I appreciate the applicant doing his best here and willing to do more,” councilman Ed Yerha said. “But at the end of the day, it’s still going to be a gas station and a convenience store, and I just can’t get over that. I just can’t picture it there.”
Nearly 10 nearby residents spoke in opposition to the proposed gas station at a July 25 meeting, citing noise, lighting, traffic and other concerns. Some emphasized that there’s no need for a gas station at the site, listing several existing businesses within a 1-mile radius.
“We are united in our opposition to this rezoning, fearful of the impact on our quality of life, property values and safety,” said Judy Vinitskey, a resident of the adjacent Ardmore at Reedy Creek subdivision and a board member of its homeowners association. “We are not opposed to development but feel strongly that a Sheetz in this residential neighborhood would harm our community.”
While not all council members shared residents’ concerns, they agreed that a gas station is not an appropriate use of the site, particularly given the traffic issues at an already hazardous intersection of Maynard and Reedy Creek roads.
“It comes back, to me, to traffic, property values and overall, is there a compelling reason to rezone this property?” councilman Don Frantz said. “Is there a need? Will this make the community that surrounds it better? And I think it fails in that regard.”
When the proposal was before the council in March, several council members said they would be reluctant to support the project because they believe the current zoning for office and institutional uses is more appropriate for the site. This mindset had not changed by Monday.
“Neighborhood doctors’ offices, dentists, things like that, those are very low traffic generators,” Frantz said. “I just don’t see how a filling station – any filling station – helps that situation whatsoever.”
Michael Birch, a lawyer representing the applicant, requested the proposal be sent back to the town’s planning and zoning board for more changes, including adding conditions to eliminate outdoor seating, prohibiting outdoor amplified music and limiting the hours of Dumpster service.
But council members said they weren’t convinced the plan could be tweaked enough for them to support it. The town’s planning and zoning board also voted 4-3 in June to recommend the council deny the rezoning request.
“I don’t think they can address nearly all the concerns that I have,” Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said. “While I totally agree about sending something back, if it would produce something more beneficial, personally I can’t imagine anything they are going to do, say, change that will change my mind on this.”
Sheetz also is looking at a site on Southeast Cary Parkway, just east of the U.S. 1 interchange. A request for a preapplication conference has been submitted – the first step in the process – but an official request has not been submitted, according to town staff.
The council also:
▪ Approved annexing about 41 acres at 120 Winding Pine Trail in northwestern Cary for a future middle school.
▪ Referred to the planning and zoning board a comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning request to allow for multifamily housing on about 15 acres adjacent to the WakeMed Soccer Park.
▪ Adopted a resolution approving a sublease for a private middle school to occupy conference space at WakeMed Soccer Park for a soccer school.
▪ Authorized staff to start the process of potentially designating as Cary landmarks Nathaniel Jones Cemetery, Cary Arts Center and the Jones House. The first step is to prepare a nomination report.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608, @KTrogdon