WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Tensions ran high at the Putnam County Courthouse Thursday night, as community members gathered to voice their opposition to plans for a new Sheetz gas station that call for a side entrance off Green Acres Drive in Teays Valley.
The Board of Zoning Appeals met to hear evidence from Sheetz Inc. representatives and residents of the Green Acres and White Rock subdivisions, and to decide whether or not to grant a special use permit that will allow the construction of the side entrance into the Sheetz's parking lot via Green Acres Drive.
Sheetz submitted an application for the special permit in June 2011, which was originally rejected by board members because of their concerns regarding child safety, traffic and diminished property values.
The new gas station is set to go up at the intersection of Green Acres Drive and W.Va. 34, and parents are concerned for the safety of their children who catch the school bus at the same spot.
The side entrance would make it easy for traffic headed eastbound on W.Va. 34 to cut into the gas station parking lot via Green Acres Drive to avoid a proposed traffic light at Mount Vernon Road.
"It's a safe haven right now," said Edward Penix, a father of two.
Currently, children are free to play and just be kids when getting on and off the school bus, but Penix said the increased traffic is going to "create havoc in our lives."
In response to public outcry, Sheetz has offered to build a sidewalk and a bus kiosk on the west side of Green Acres Drive to keep schoolchildren off the street and out of harms way.
In a letter to the board, Coordinator of Transportation for Putnam County Schools Charlie Tribble voiced his concerns for the children's safety, but in a subsequent letter he stated that the construction of the sidewalk and kiosk, in the revised site plan, eliminated his concern.