Thought of gas station at old Piggly Wiggly site has residents concerned

VIDEO: Thought of gas station at old Piggly Wiggly site has residents concerned

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston city council meeting Tuesday evening not only saw a different venue, it also heard concerns about something that wasn't on the agenda.

Instead of being held at city hall, in downtown Charleston, council met at Charles Towne Landing in West Ashley. 
Council meets at different spots four times a year to take them into the other districts in the city.

Plus, dozens of people spoke, during the public portion, on their concerns about the future of the site where Piggly Wiggly used to be, near the Northbridge.

"Find a use for that property that will further our goals," former councilmember Paul Tinkler said.

Tinkler, and more than 100 others, filled Founders Hall, hoping to make a difference.

They spoke not against a gas station; but rather, against what it could bring to an area they feel has promise.

"It should have greenspace, it should have walking paths," one West Ashley resident said.

They spoke about their concerns with the roads surrounding the lot, where Sam Rittenberg Blvd meets Old Towne Road.

"The fact that we have intersections that are called the suicide merge," West Ashley resident Lauren Hunt.

They asked council to consider putting in a roundabout in the area and begged them to keep the proposed Sunoco from being built.

"It seems like everyone knows that the gas station is not the right thing," Hunt said.

To many people's surprise, council agreed.

"I think we get the big picture," said Mayor John Tecklenburg.

One councilmember, in particular, had a little more passion.

"We're fighting downtown with the Sergeant Jasper, it's a gateway," councilmember Bill Moody said. "Look, Northbridge is a gateway to the whole city and we're going to put a gas station there. That's the best we can do?"

The site isn't in council member Moody's district, but he said he's fed up with how West Ashley gets treated.

"We just keep getting handed stuff and they say take it and shut up," Moody said. "And, I'm not going to be shutting up anymore. I'm ready to speak out."

Still, others at the meeting think it should be given a chance.

"I think it's very important that we encourage business to invest in our community because we have a lot of empty retail space," chair of Old Charles Towne District task force Sue Stevens said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Tecklenburg said the Charlotte-based company Faison Enterprises, that owns the property, has the right to build a gas station on the lot. 
It abides by the zoning in the area.
Mayor Tecklenburg said, the city just hopes the company will listen to their concerns.

"We're working with the developer, the owner, to think of other uses that he might have at that property," Mayor Tecklenburg said.

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