MOUNT PLEASANT — Town zoning officials will wait a little longer before deciding whether they should allow a Sunoco gas station at the entrance to the Rivertowne subdivision.
After a 2-hour hearing Monday evening, the Board of Zoning Appeals deferred a decision so a traffic study could be done.
“The crowd was maybe the largest crowd I’ve seen in council chambers,” said Town Councilman Chris Nickels, who did not speak. “There were people sitting on the floor. There were people in the hallway.”
Dozens of Rivertowne residents turned out to oppose the gas station because of concern about traffic and crime.
The corner parcel at Rivertowne’s entrance and S.C. Highway 41 is zoned for neighborhood commercial, but Rivertowne’s zoning says gas stations are permitted as a conditional use.
As a result, the Board of Zoning Appeals must give its OK. It can consider not only traffic impacts but also the project’s buffers and other impacts.
Councilman Ken Glasson, who is one of five candidates running for mayor on Nov. 5, spoke to the crowd, though he said his message did not get a lot of cheers from the crowd gathered to oppose the station.
“They don’t really have the authority to deny it,” Glasson said of zoning board members. “I was talking to residents and getting them to understand that if you push for the vote, you might not get the decision you want. ... I’ve always been a ‘reality is’ guy. The reality is that this is an approved project.”
Glasson said he hopes that while the traffic study is being done, residents will work with the builder to talk about how a station could be built while respecting the integrity of Rivertown’s entrance. “I think those conservations need to occur before a final decision is made.”
Given the time needed to define and conduct the traffic study, Nickels said the plan might not reappear before the board until early next year.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.