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County denies proposed gas station
The proposal was to build a gas station/convenience store at the intersection of Highway 144 and its spur, next to a similar business. - photo by Google Street View

The Bryan County Board of Commissioners said no to a new business that would have put a gas station and convenience store on Highway 144 near Highway 144 Spur.

The new gas station would have been adjacent to the current station on the busy corner.

During their monthly meeting Dec. 10, the commissioners voted to deny the request for a conditional use in a B-1 zone that would have allowed the business to locate there.

Property owner Michael Roberts said he was willing to do whatever it took to make the project a success and satisfy the commissioners’ concerns. Their concerns included emergency water flow to the area, along with increased traffic and disturbance to the nearby Oxford subdivision and other homes.

Roberts told the commissioners that the new service station and convenience store would be next door to an existing service station on the corner of Highway 144 and Highway 144 Spur.

The Planning Commission voted to recommend denial of Roberts’ request last month for a conditional use. It was a 2-2 vote, with Chairman Wade Gibson casting the deciding vote.

Roberts said he was invested in the community and would ensure the project was a success, adding that there would be a 50-foot planted buffer behind the business.

Local real-estate agent Cathy Butler Gregory spoke in favor of the request.

“Competition is good. It breeds success. We don’t want to shut the gates, especially when the business is going to be locally owned. The builder is Wilson Pickett. He has a good traffic record and will do a good job,” she said.

“I don’t see how a similar business there will benefit the community. I have traffic concerns, and I’m concerned with residences being so close,” Oxford resident Joanne Johnson told the county commissioners.

The commissioners apparently agreed and voted unanimously to disapprove the conditional-use request, with Commissioner Steve Myers making the motion and Commissioner Noah Covington seconding.

In other business:

• The commission heard the bid date for the new Interstate 95 interchange is September 2017. Engineering plans and right-of-way acquisitions are on time.

• Commissioners heard the bid date for the widening of Highway 144 has been pushed back to March 2017 because of contract issues. Right-of-way acquisition and engineering plans are on track.

• Bryan County Emergency Services recently won the Fire Prevention Program of the Year Award from the state for its efforts in the county to promote fire prevention to various groups.

• The county will receive $312,640 from the state with a match requirement of $93,800 for road resurfacing in 2016. The roads scheduled for resurfacing include: 1 mile on Charles Shuman Road; one-third a mile on Williamson Drive; one-third mile on Warnell Drive, and ½ mile on Oak Hill Road for one-third of a mile.

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