PITTSBORO — Backhoes and other construction equipment have begun demolishing the old Ford automotive dealership located on the site of what will become a new Eagles gas station in downtown …
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PITTSBORO — Backhoes and other construction equipment have begun demolishing the old Ford automotive dealership located on the site of what will become a new Eagles gas station in downtown Pittsboro.
The work begins nearly one year after the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners voted — legally-bound, as they said at the time — to approve the location of the gas station one-tenth of a mile east from the traffic circle in Pittsboro. The vote was made more or less under protest, as commissioners at the time said they did not want to have the Eagles facility so close to downtown.
Then-Commissioner Bett Wilson Foley said on an official town Facebook post that the Eagles “slipped in” to the town before the passage of an ordinance “designed to protect the character of downtown Pittsboro.” The ordinance, among other things, prohibits the placement of convenience stores with gas pumps, automated carwashes and automobile service stations in the Downtown Overlay District.
The station has become, at least to one commissioner, a symbol of why the Town of Pittsboro needs to adopt a new Unified Development Ordinance to help govern where development can go within the town’s jurisdiction. In his candidate questionnaire prior to election last year, Commissioner Kyle Shipp referenced the Eagles as why the UDO was needed.
“While the developer did work with the town to design an enhanced facade, ultimately this is a poor use of site which will negatively affect Pittsboro’s historic center,” said Shipp, who was on the town’s Planning Board at the time of the Eagles’ approval. “However, due to the town’s outdated Land Use Plan and lack of UDO, it is a completely legal and allowable use of the site, rendering the Planning and Town Boards unable to prevent its approval.”
Both John Bonitz and Jay Farrell — each of whom were re-elected to the board in November 2019 — also cited the completion of the UDO as central to their goals if put back in office.
The Eagles site plan was first submitted to the Town of Pittsboro in April 2018.
Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.