With a special-use permit from the town, Sheetz has cleared the last major hurdle in its path to building a store on U.S. 70 Business near N.C. 42 East.
But the company isn’t sure when construction will begin. Sheetz hasn’t yet purchased the seven parcels it needs for the store, and the company must also submit the appropriate construction drawings to the town and obtain building permits, said Jamie Gerhart, a Sheetz site selector based in the Triangle.
“Everyone is pleased, but it would be premature to guess on construction and opening,” Gerhart said. “We’re not quite there.”
The Clayton Town Council on Monday unanimously approved the special-use permit, which allows Sheetz to operate the store with specific conditions. One condition is that Sheetz cannot open an access drive to a residential neighborhood. That access drive was one of the most-contentious parts of the company’s original plans.
The store will sit at the corner of U.S. 70 Business and Rose Street, along a proposed $30 million “southern connector” that would link N.C. 42 East to N.C. 42 West. But the store will also border Tulip Street, a residential area where neighbors say kids often play in the street and catch the bus to school.
Sheetz included an access road to Tulip Street in its initial plans but removed that part of the proposal after hearing recommendations from town staff and concerned residents who were opposed to the idea.
“We heard those concerns and don’t want to jeopardize neighbors whose children will be playing in the street,” said Gray Styers, a Raleigh attorney representing Sheetz.
Under conditions laid out in the special-use permit, Sheetz can open the access to Tulip Street once surrounding properties are rezoned for commercial use or the “southern connector” is built.
The estimated thee-mile highway will eventually link N.C. 42 East to N.C. 42 West via Rose Street, but to date, the N.C. Department of Transportation has set aside no money for the project. The connector is included in the state’s catalog of proposed road projects and is now being reviewed along with thousands of other projects under a new state model for setting road-building priorities.
Other conditions in the special-use permit say Sheetz must use the most intense buffer around its property, which, according to the store’s site plan, will include trees and a six-foot-tall fence.
Also, a traffic-impact analysis recommends added turn lanes off of U.S. 70 Business and improvements to Rose Street. Gerhart said the company will be working with the state Department of Transportation to finalize the road improvements.
Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104