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Planning board signs off on proposal to demolish, rebuild Sheetz gas station

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Burlington’s planning commission has given its imprimatur to a rezoning request that would enable the Sheetz gas station chain to raze and rebuild a store that it currently operates along Alamance Road.

The commission’s members ultimately voted 6-to-1 to recommend this request to Burlington’s city council after it heard the particulars of the company’s plans during its latest regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday.

Todd Simmons, a civil engineer in the company’s employ, appeared before the commission that evening to clarify precisely what’s in store for the property at 2628 Alamance Road where Sheetz has been doing business for the past 15 years.

“This is what we call a ‘scrape and rebuild’ where we would demolish everything and rebuild,” he informed the group’s members. “What brings us here this evening is a desire to rebuild a similar sized store – same number of pumps, same number of parking spaces, same access points.”

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Simmons added that the only new feature that Sheetz has in mind for this particular rebuild is a drive-thru that would serve the new convenience store.

In order to follow through with these plans, Sheetz has asked the city to nix the “conditional” zoning that has been attached to this site since March of 2008. This designation, which is a throwback to Burlington’s former development rules, imposes a strict list of conditions on the 1.62-acre parcel that prohibit any substantive change to the orientation or layout of its existing structures.

In lieu of the lot’s current zoning, Sheetz has requested a “limited-use” form of general business development that would restrict the parcel’s future activities without curtailing the new store’s design.  Under this proposed designation, the property owner would be limited a short list of commercial uses – namely, a convenience store with gas sales, a car wash or auto detailing business, a restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating, and a restaurant with drive-thru or drive-up service.

Simmons told the city’s planning commission that his client arrived at this list of conditions under the guidance of Burlington’s planning staff.

Jamie Lawson, the city’s planning director, went on to endorse the request to the commission – whose members proceeded to recommend it to Burlington’s city council, with commission member Charlie Beasley casting the lone vote of dissent.

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