Board to hear comment on service station

Published 10:46 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Board of Supervisors has a public hearing scheduled at its Monday meeting to hear any opposition against and support for a proposed convenience store/service station near Southampton Middle and High schools.

During the county Planning Commission’s meeting in September, several people spoke about whether or not JDW Land Development LLC should be allowed to build on the aforementioned area. That would be on 3.2 acres at the intersection of Meherrin and Ridley roads, which is aligned to the schools. Also nearby are single family residences and agriculture.

As previously reported, the opposition’s collective concern was that the project would increase vehicle traffic and become a threat to students’ safety.

For example, Anne Pittman called the site, “a tricky intersection” and “a pickle in the morning…it’s very scary to think of students crossing the street for nabs or a soda.”

John Burchett of Sebrell said he’d otherwise be in favor of the project if it weren’t so close to the schools.

He said, “I hope you [the Planning Commission] will give a lot of consideration to the fact that there’s schools nearby, and you won’t say later ‘We shouldn’t have done that,’ but by then it’s too late. Do we really need it? And is it compatible? I hope we think hard about this.”

In contrast, Randolph Cooke of Newsoms said, “It’s a great location. In a year when the bridge [in Courtland] is built without restrictions on vehicles, it could capture some of that money. I don’t see why this couldn’t be an asset to the community.”

Jim Strozier had also lent his support, stating, “It meets the requirements and he [developer James David Williams] should be allowed to develop under the guidelines.”

Planning Commission members also had speakers for both sides.

Keith Tennessee said that the only thing that concerned him was that a convenience store could be a target for robberies.

Whereas, Dr. Alan Edwards noted the issue is in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan, and made a motion to vote. Ultimately, Planning voted 6-2 in favor of amending the Comprehensive Plan, with Tennessee and J. Michael Mann opposed. For the zoning amendment, the matter passed 5-3 with Tennessee, Mann and Bill Day opposed.

The Supervisors could allow, defer or deny the matter that evening.