MOUNT PLEASANT - A zoning board unanimously rejected a planned Sunoco gas station at S.C. Highway 41 and the entrance to the Rivertowne subdivision.
Those working to develop the station said Wednesday that they're still trying to figure out their next move.
This week's hearing before the Mount Pleasant Board of Zoning Appeals lasted about two hours and drew yet another packed house. The issue - whether a gas station should be approved as a conditional use on the site - triggered an outpouring of neighborhood opposition.
Rivertowne resident Jill Cragg said that more than 150 people showed up at the hearing and more than 100 sent in letters.
"To add to that, myself and several other residents chipped in to send out 3,000 fliers to residents in the surrounding areas," she said. "I'm hopeful that notification woke some people up."
Neil Robinson, an attorney for Sunoco, which is trying to develop the station, called the board's vote disappointing, especially because he said a traffic study showed there would be minimal impact.
"You're always surprised then at that point to get a unanimous negative vote," he said. "There's just so much intimidation factor and pressure looking out at a sea of 150 to 200 people who are very viscerally motivated versus a corporate applicant."
The proposed gas station also drew a packed crowd late last year, when the board deferred the issue pending a more detailed traffic study. Cragg and others argued that study was unacceptable and didn't allay their concerns about the safety hazard that the station would pose so close to the only entrance to their neighborhood.
Robinson said there are convenience stores at the entrance to Kiawah Island and Seaside Farms, but Sunoco, which had the property under contract, has not figured out its next step.
He said the property was zoned commercial, and the landowners were not informed when the town's zoning changed to require a special exception for a gas station there. "It didn't require that back when we put it in place," Robinson said. "Our position is if you're essentially changing our zoning, we should have gotten notice."
Cragg said she expects Sunoco might go to court, "but as of right now, we can temporarily breathe a sigh of relief until we hear something different."
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.