Port Royal Town Council gives green light to Parker's gas station design

emoody@beaufortgazette.comNovember 13, 2013 

A detail from the final, mediated site plan for a Parkers planned in Port Royal on Ribaut Road.

THOMAS & HUTTON

Port Royal will get a Parker's.

After months of debate and three mediation sessions, town council voted 3-2 Wednesday night to approve the gas station and convenience store planned for the corner of Paris Avenue and Ribaut Road.

Councilman Tom Klein and Vernon DeLoach voted against the plan.

"We've negotiated this and we've mediated this quite a bit," Mayor Sam Murray said. "I think we need to make a decision and make up our mind."

Developer Pinckney Enterprises and Parker's have been at odds with the town since the Design Review Board approved a plan with six gasoline pumps instead of eight earlier this year.

Since then, conversations and mediation have revolved around the number of pumps, placement of the building on the lot, canopy size and style, entrances and exits to the parking lot and other issues.

Councilmembers Klein and Mary Beth Gray Heyward met in October with the Design Review Board, and council met in a closed-door meeting Nov. 6 on the matter.

"We had the executive session so we could discuss some of the litigation issues and so I could get a sense of what council wanted to do," town attorney Mary Lohr said at the council meeting Wednesday.

Lohr said the most recent mediation resulted in a plan with six gas pumps with a small, thin canopy, the building centered on the lot with a number of significant trees saved, less concrete and more landscaped islands and a pierced brick wall on both sides.

Town manager Van Willis will also approach the S.C. Department of Transportation to see if it will allow changes to the entrances and exits to the lot. DeLoach has been concerned the traffic pattern is not safe on the Ribaut Road side of the property.

Klein voted against the plan because too much of it is incongruent with town design standards, he said. His tipping point was the building does not face Paris Avenue, as code dictates.

Parker's has already agreed to the mediated plan, Willis said.

Once a building permit is issued, work at the site can begin. No details on a construction timeline were available Wednesday night.

In other business, council:

  • discussed banning texting while driving. The town is the only municipality in Beaufort County without a ban. A draft ordinance is expected to be ready for the Dec. 4 meetings.
  • approved a $27,499 contract with Joco construction for a Hillside Court drainage project; a $623,214 contract with Dupriest Construction for the Ribaut Road sewer project; and a $461,855 contract with Beaufort Construction for the police station renovation and expansion.
  • heard an update on the proposed form-based code. Town officials met with the Beaufort/Port Royal Metropolitan Planning Commission on Tuesday to review the document.
  • granted final approval to the annexation and rezoning of 591 and 599 Robert Smalls Parkway.
  • granted initial approval to rezone 738 Robert Smalls Parkway. A second vote is expected in December.
  • proclaimed November as Violence Against Women awareness month.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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