Local News

Cary parents work to put brakes on proposed gas station

Posted February 9, 2018 4:11 p.m. EST
Updated February 9, 2018 6:45 p.m. EST

— More than 1,600 Cary residents have signed a petition to stop a gas station from being built next to Hortons Creek Elementary on O'Kelly Chapel Road.

The 12-pump station is planned roughly 400 feet from the pre-kindergarten playground. Parents are worried about the exposure to benzene, a chemical found in fuel vapor that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says can, in large doses, cause cancer.

Pranab Mehta does not want his child, who has asthma, breathing in the fumes.

"These are our most vulnerable people, and this is what we are doing. We are building a gas station next door? It makes no sense," he said.

Environmental regulators say the gas station would be at a safe distance.

"There are always risks involved, and the chance may be smaller than we anticipate, but a risk is a risk," said Amy Ward, another concerned parent.

Parents said along with gas comes alcohol and cigarette sales.

"Having a commercial zone right next to a school, that's ok, as long as it is a candy store or maybe a bagel shop or a coffee shop where kids can hang out," said Nilesh Mistry.

The town's development review committee is on track to approve the gas station, and despite the objections there is really nothing blocking the way.

Cary Assistant Planning Director Debra Grannan said the project meets all zoning and code requirements. But parents say fuel pumps don't fit.

"This is not even a commercial area where you would have a lot of traffic going in and out, so I don't understand the business end, having a gas station right here," Mistry said.

Grannan said the project will likely have to undergo one more review cycle, but she expects it to be approved.