Controversial Fort Mill Gas Station Clears Another Hurdle

FORT MILL, SC -The fight to stop a gas station near an elementary school in Fort Mill may be heading to court. The town zoning board denied an appeal to the project by a close 4 to 3 vote. Parents say they’re not happy with the result.

“Yeah, of course, it’s disappointing,” said Brett McNabb.

He spent Tuesday night presenting an argument in front of the zoning board. He says the proposed gas station near his children’s school is prohibited.

“This is about a basic reading of the plain words of our zoning ordinance,” argued McNabb.

Parents say the gas station would be too close to Doby’s Bridge Elementary. They say Benzene, which is known to cause cancer, would flow into the playground and the school’s air conditioning intake.

Brett argued that the project is prohibited under the city zoning ordinance because it’s labeled industrial.

The Town argued that industrial had a broad meaning and that the council followed proper procedure when approving the gas station project.

“Your only duty this evening is to determine whether or not staff correctly interpreted the ordinance language,” explained Asst. Town Manager Chris Pettit.

Four of the board members agreed.

“It was about the interpretation of the code,” said board chair Jim Thomas.

McNabb says the lack of clarity in the code worked against his case.

“The ordinance is written relatively poorly,” said McNabb, “As a result we end up with a little bit of a convoluted end product that tonight worked to my detriment.”

As the project clears another hurdle, McNabb says the next step could be legal action.

“It’s certainly an option that we have available to us,” said McNabb.