Corinth city council vote denies Buc-ee's incentives request

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CORINTH — The Corinth City Council, shortly after 1 a.m. this morning, voted to deny Buc-ee's the economic incentives it wanted to build a store at the corner of Corinth Parkway and the Interstate 35E southbound frontage road.

Residents packed council chambers Thursday night to voice their opinions about a proposed deal that would bring a Buc-ee’s travel center to their city.

The city council, after hearing debate on the proposed deal, then voted 3-2 to deny those incentives.

Buc-ee's owner Arch "Beaver" Aplin said the decision was very disappointing and that he disagreed with council comments that the company was not willing to do enough give and take in the planning for the location.

The Corinth City Council was set to vote on economic incentives approved last week by the Planning and Zoning Commission that the owners of Buc-ee’s wanted in order to build what would be their largest travel center to date. Among the incentives was a 1 percent sales tax rebate for the next 15 years.

A public hearing was scheduled before the council’s vote on the issue, and that brought out many who wanted to speak on the issue. A total of 97 residents signed up to speak, pushing the vote late into the night. No vote had been taken as of press time.

“Progress is going to occur,” resident Chris Humphrey said. “We need to adjust and adapt to the changes.”

Many residents, some of whom live in a neighborhood near the proposed site on a 20-acre lot on the west side of Interstate 35E at Corinth Parkway, said their lives would be affected by the increased traffic, lighting and gasoline emissions a travel center of that size would bring.

Buc-ee’s officials are proposing a project that would have 96 pumps, 603 parking places and more than 60,000 square feet of retail space.

“We don’t want a glorified truck stop,” said Robert Kubicek, one of the many Corinth residents voicing opposition.

In 1982, Arch “Beaver” Aplin III and Don Wasek opened the first Buc-ee’s megaplex gas station in Lake Jackson, focusing on providing cheap ice and clean bathrooms for customers. Today, it has 27 travel centers around the state.

Resident John Watson complained to the council about the lack of diesel available in Corinth, claiming Buc-ee’s will have diesel available at all of its pumps.

“If this doesn’t pass, they can build it in my backyard,” he said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission met Aug. 4 to discuss economic incentives for Buc-ee’s LTD. Many residents showed up, voicing concerns not only about the increase in traffic and lighting but the environmental impact of cleaning up the gas station if it were to close in the future.

“There shouldn’t be an environmental impact,” said Andrea Morrow, a media specialist with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, “and it’s not like a lot of idling will be going on, because it’s small cars not big trucks fueling there.”

On Thursday night, several presentations were made that highlighted the economic impact of Buc-ee’s locating in Corinth and the traffic implications. City Engineer Justin Brown reported that despite Aplin’s assertion that only 5,000 cars would pump daily at Buc-ee’s, his analysis showed that more than 7,600 cars would be visiting the travel center daily.

Fred Gibbs, the city’s director of planning and development, gave a slide presentation that said the illumination of a Buc-ee’s travel center would be as bright as a baseball or softball field.

“Don’t tear apart my home,” resident Haven Hendrick pleaded.

NBC-Channel 5 contributed to this report.

CHRISTIAN McPHATE can be reached at 940-566-6878.


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