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Gas Station To Replace Former West Ashley Grocery Store Rejected

Mez Joseph

Developers want to put a 20-pump gas station at the site of a former Piggly Wiggly supermarket in West Ashley. Charleston’s Design Review Board rejected the design Monday for the proposed development.

This is not the image we want to signify the entrance to West Ashley.
— Dinos Liollio, Liollio Architecture

From The Post & Courier
By Warren L. Wise
wwise@postandcourier.com

Dozens of West Ashley residents packed a standing room only Charleston meeting to voice their objections to plans for a new gas station at the site of a former grocery store this week.

Charlotte-based Faison and Associates wants to construct a 20-pump Sunoco A-Plus convenience store and gas station on the triangular parcel housing a shuttered Piggly Wiggly supermarket on Sumar Street.

For nearly two hours, more than five dozen area residents along with city staff and the Design Review Board objected to the proposal or its design.

The panel made it clear to the opposition that it "has no authority to tell anyone they can’t build a gas station" at the key intersection of Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Old Towne Road because zoning rules allow that use.

Erica Chase of the Design Review Board said the project needs a "unique site plan" because it’s proposed for a "gateway location" in West Ashley.

City architect Dennis Dowd said the developer should "not be taking a prototype and dropping it into a site. The site is special and the architecture should be special."

The board agreed and unanimously rejected design plans for the proposed gas station.

The DRB’s Kristen Krause recommended the developer work with residents to come up with a design everyone could support and suggested they "ponder something more unique for the site."

Faison was proposing a convenience store not as tall as one it presented earlier this summer. It included landscaping and buffers along with a parcel left for future development. A bike rack and outdoor seating also were proposed.

"With additional buffer requirements, you won’t see the gas station," landscape architect J.R. Kramer said.

That did little to appease nearby residents. One by one they marched to the microphone or stood up to object to the project.

"This is not the image we want to signify the entrance to West Ashley," said Dinos Liollio, Principal at Liollio Architecture.

City Councilman Keith Waring said, "When I look at the design, it looks like anywhere USA."

City Councilman Peter Shahid added, "We are not opposed to the gas station. We are opposed to the mass of the project. The gateway aspect of this project is vitally important to the redevelopment of West Ashley. This is going to kill it."

Not everyone spoke out against the proposal.

"I think it’s a good use of the property," said Tommy Goldstein.

The next step for the gas station concept has not been determined, Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields said after the meeting.

"We are reviewing our options," he said.