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Proposed Buc-ee's in Mebane faces deciding vote Monday night

MEBANE, N.C. (WGHP) — Buc-ee’s could get the go-ahead to build in Mebane or get sent back to the drawing board Monday as the Mebane City Council votes on a proposal from the popular gas station chain.

On Monday, the city council has a public hearing on their meeting agenda to consider conditional rezoning and a special use permit for the proposed site at 1425 Trollingwood-Hawsfield Road. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m.

CSMS Management, LLC, which owns the property, is asking the city to rezone about 32 acres from light manufacturing to heavy manufacturing and allow them to use the property for a travel plaza. Heavy manufacturing districts allow for travel plazas, like Buc-ee’s, so long as the city council approves a special use request.

Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. ran a Traffic Impact Analysis, reviewed by NCDOT, city staff and the city’s contracted TIA consultant. Based on that analysis, the developer would be required to make a number of improvements to nearby roads, including widening ramps and the bridge over Interstate 40.

According to the application, the Graham-Mebane Water Plant and downstream wastewater facilities both have the capacity for the stop’s expected water and wastewater use.

The company says conservative estimates suggest that the Buc-ee’s would have 225 full-time employees. Full-time employees would get three weeks of vacation, health insurance and 401ks.

While city council gets the final say, the plan failed to get the blessing of zoning officials who voted against recommending the proposal to city leaders on Dec. 11, 2023.

Mebane Mayor Ed Hooks said he thought the Buc-ee’s team previously made their case “very, very effectively,” but several of the planning and zoning officials voted against the proposal citing concerns about the traffic the Buc-ee’s would bring.

At around noon on Wednesday, concerned members of the Mebane community delivered a petition with more than 1,000 signatures to Mebane City Hall ahead of city leaders’ Jan. 8 vote.

The petition was initiated by the group 7 Directions of Service which describes itself as “an Indigenous-led environmental justice and community organizing collective.” 7 Directions focuses on the protection of traditional “pre-US treaty” areas in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. The group grew out of the Occaneechi-Saponi homelands. The Occaneechi tribe, based in Mebane, represents a branch of the indigenous Saponi people.

7 Directions of Service co-founder Jason Campos-Keck spoke with FOX8 about some of his concerns after the petition was delivered.

“To me, it’s just a corrupt business practice how they came into the community,” Campos-Keck said.

He voiced concerns about the effect that Buc-ee’s could have on local businesses, specifically how the large 32-acre mega gas station could threaten the business of smaller and more traditional gas stations.

Mobile, United States – January 31, 2022: Aerial view of the famed Texas-based gas station and mega convenience store. This one is located in Robertsdale, Alabama near Mobile and was the first Buc-ee’s opened in 2019, the first outside the state of Texas.

“There’s three gas stations already which are local mom-and-pops,” said Campos-Keck. “… There’s a Shell station being built. Nobody gave them the memo before they started building that there was going to be this mega kingpin that was going to put all the other ones out of business.”

7 Directions of Service says that the area where the proposed Buc-ee’s location would stand is “especially significant to our Native American community members” and “a priceless cultural and historical resource.”

The group also expresses concerns about the environmental impact that Buc-ee’s would have as well as concerns about traffic flow, community safety and overall quality of life.

“The City of Mebane is already dealing with a deficit of clean water, and investing in expensive, critical infrastructure as a result,” 7 Directions says on its website. “Buc-ee’s 32.5 acre operation will only deplete our water resources further, and the costs will fall on our shoulders.”

What is Buc-ee’s?

Buc-ee's in Florence, South Carolina (Courtesy of Buc-ee's)
Buc-ee’s in Florence, South Carolina (Courtesy of Buc-ee’s)

Buc-ee’s is based in Lake Jackson, Texas and currently has 47 locations across the Southeast. There is a store located in Florence, South Carolina that is currently the only location in either of the Carolinas.

There are currently stores in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The chain, which first began expanding outside of its home base of Texas in 2018, has developed a very loyal customer base. Buc-ee’s was ranked as the nation’s second favorite gas station in a survey, according to KXAN.

Buc-ee’s targets Mebane for first North Carolina location

The Mebane Buc-ee’s location was first proposed in June 2023.

The proposed 32-acre mega-gas station would be located at 1447 Trollingwood-Hawsfield Road off I-85/40, just one exit west of Tanger Outlets, an already popular shopping hub.

Trollingwood-Hawfields Road is Exit 152 on I-85/40 placing it in a stretch of the highway that connects the Burlington/Graham area and Orange County. The proposed location would be just over 20 miles away from the outer edges of Greensboro.

The site would be located within the North Carolina Commerce Park and revenues would be split three ways between Mebane, Graham and Alamance County.

Aerial view of the area surrounding the proposed Mebane Buc-ee’s site
(Map Data: Maxar Technologies, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA/FPAC/GEO)

The plot, which is mostly overgrown grass and trees, would transform into an immense Buc-ee’s complex large enough to fit more than 18 Sheetz stores or half a standard Walmart inside. The site would include 600 parking spaces, and officials expect it would draw around five million visitors a year. Those numbers mean surrounding roads and on-ramps would need extensive upgrades to prepare for the influx of traffic.

Buc-ee’s had already filed a preliminary site plan with Mebane to build a 75,400-square-foot store that would feature up to 120 gas pumps.

Not the first attempt

This is not Buc-ee’s first attempt at breaking ground in the Tarheel State. There was once a proposed store to be built in Efland in Orange County.

That proposal did not come to fruition after a mixed community response. Those who opposed the proposal mentioned concerns about traffic congestion as well as environmental impacts.

The store would have been located near I-40 in between Mebane and Hillsborough, near the area where I-85 and I-40 merge/fork-off.

The proposed travel center would have featured 60 fueling stations at a 57,000-square-foot building. There would also have been a potential phase 2 of the plan that could have included a hotel, restaurants and office space, according to The News of Orange County.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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