Parents who are trying to stop a 7-Eleven from being built beside Doby’s Bridge Elementary School are placing their bets on Tuesday night.
That is when property owner Bret McNabb will present an appeal before the Fort Mill Board of Zoning Appeals at 6 p.m. (See his appeal below).
The appeal says that town zoning officials erred in allowing the gas station to move forward since laws prohibit “industrial or heavy manufacturing uses.”
“The proposed use at the subject property has been described by the Fort Mill Planning Commission as a convenience store, which is a limited industrial use,” the appeal says.
According to McNabb’s appeal, if the zoning board does not correct its actions, everyone at the school “would be subjected to injurious gases, fumes, odors, and other conditions objectionable to those in regular attendance.” The appeal also says residents would suffer reduced property values on their homes because the attractiveness of the school would be diminished.
Parents have spent months protesting the gas station, saying the gas pumps will be located very close to the school playgrounds. But local leaders have pushed back on the group, saying there is not much they can do to stop the construction of the store.
But the appeal has led town officials to pause their review of the store’s plans even though staff has maintained that a convenience store and gas station are allowed in highway commercial zoning.
If the zoning appeal board agrees with the parent protesters, they can reverse the planning staff decision and deny a building permit. If they go against parents and allow the permit, parents would have to go to court as a next step.
While protesters with signs and children have been a staple at school board and town council meetings, protesters are working to stay away from Tuesday’s meeting. They don’t want to distract from McNabb’s presentation. Instead, protesters are planning to gather at Hobo’s restaurant and get text updates from there.
“While there are a lot of concerned people with great intent, larger crowds can drive perceptions of a ‘mob mentality,’” said resident Kevin Van Wieren on Facebook. “In this case, less is more.”
The appeal is shown below.