Bluffton mulls gas station in historic area

gsmith@islandpacket.comJanuary 29, 2013 

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Plans for a large gas station at the entrance to Old Town Bluffton need some changes before gaining a committee's approval.

The town's Development Review Committee got details Tuesday from representatives of Parker's Convenience Store about a 4,700-square-foot store with seven dual-sided fuel pumps. It would be built on a 1.72-acre plot.

The store would include a deli and 22 parking spaces and is planned for the northeast corner of Buck Island Road and May River Road. It would feature sidewalks on both roads to take advantage of foot and bike traffic.

Doug Hancock , who lives across from the proposed site, has concerns about the plan.

"I think it's too big for that corner," said Hancock, who also worries the station would increase the amount of polluted runoff into the May River.

Plans include a retention pond to catch stormwater runoff.

Josh Tiller, a member of the review committee and the town's Planning Commission, said he hopes the builders will consider a more "village-type" building -- perhaps featuring a large front porch -- placed closer to Buck Island Road than the current proposal.

"This could be an iconic building into Old Town," he said. "It could be a unique destination if it's done right for bikers."

Planners for the store said they will consider the suggestions and return soon with a final plan. No date for that next meeting has been set.

Majority approval of the review committee is the final step before construction can begin. The zoning for the site was changed last year to allow a store.

Follow reporter Gina Smith at www.twitter.com/GinaNSmith.

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