Doby’s Bridge Elementary Parents Push Back Against Fort Mill Gas Station Development

CHARLOTTE, NC -A group of upset parents filled a Fort Mill Town Council meeting to voice concerns about a development near Doby’s Bridge Elementary School.

Parents say fumes from the proposed gas station would flow directly onto the school playground and potentially through the school’s air system.

“Wake up. You’ve got a bunch of people here who are pissed off,” said one speaker at the meeting.

“We just want to have a conversation to protect our kids and our teachers of the school,” said another woman concerned about the gas station project.

The meeting was at capacity. A crowd of parents and children held signs outside, protesting the gas station that would be about 240 feet away from Doby’s Bridge Elementary School.

“We feel that you are cowering behind zoning laws. You’ve made deals to allow the building of a gas station dangerously close to Dobys Bridge Elementary,” said Kristy DeJesus, a parent at Doby’s Bridge Elementary.

A study from Columbia University found people could be exposed to chemicals from gas stations beyond 300 feet away.

Parents say benzene, which is known to cause cancer, would flow from the fuel tanks into the school’s playground and air system.

“They’re there all day, every day inside breathing this benzene,” said Rick Hayes. He’s part of a group of parents pushing to stop the project.

Fort Mill Mayor Guynn Savage read an email sent to her from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

“It says there are no DHEC underground storage tank regulations that will prohibit this development.”

An email from the EPA says the organization has no regulations or guidelines that determine distance requirements for a gas station next to a school.

But according to the EPA school siting guidelines, there should be a case by case evaluation whenever a school and gas station are potentially within 1,000 feet of one another.

“We’re genuinely concerned about the children and the teachers,” said Hayes.

The group of parents have filed an appeal with the zoning commission, citing an ordinance that would prohibit a gas station on that plot of land.

The parents say they may take legal action if needed.

No one representing the developer spoke at tonight’s meeting.