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Corinth P&Z OKs zoning change

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

Fate of Buc-ee’s travel center now goes before City Council for vote

CORINTH — The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the city approve a zoning change that could bring the biggest Buc-ee’s travel center to the region.

The Planning and Zoning Commission heard about an hour of testimony in a public hearing as the crowd of nearly 100 appeared split on the issue. Following the public hearing, commission members had questions for Buc-ee’s development team that continued for another hour and a half.

In the end, the commission voted 4-1 to approve the change with conditions, including additional requirements to reduce light pollution, increase planting of evergreen trees around the property and prepare detailed plans where accessory structures would go on the property. Commissioner Hunter Bonner opposed.

The City Council has the final say on the zoning change. The issue will go before the council on Aug. 14.

Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, co-owner of Buc-ee’s, addressed the commission, saying the company has held town hall-style meetings to get and incorporate feedback from Corinth residents.

“Being part of the community is important to us,” Aplin said, adding that he hoped for unanimous support from the Planning and Zoning Commission and community, but knows he might not get it.

Developers first came to Corinth in March to see whether the proposed travel center would be a fit for the community. The developers presented the project to a joint special meeting of the commissioners and the City Council. More than 100 residents attended that meeting also.

Developers proposed the project for a 20-acre lot that surrounds the Corinth Police Department.

The lot fronts the west side of Interstate 35E and south of Corinth Parkway, but also shares a western boundary with a quiet neighborhood.

Resident Larry Cleveland opened the public hearing by saying the city could do better.

“If this is about money, my taxes better go down,” he said.

However, John Westin said he would like to see Buc-ee’s move in, supplying both diesel and new sales tax revenue.

“They are clean and safe,” he said.

John Luggenheim reminded the commission that three of four gas stations on Swisher Road will close due to the widening of Interstate 35E. That business could come to Corinth instead.

“It seems small, but it’s huge,” he said.

Michael Long, who lives close to the proposed site, said he’s concerned about the lighting and that if Buc-ee’s moved in, it would be as bright as a ball field and on all night.

If the council approves the deal, the travel center would be the first Buc-ee’s in North Texas and possibly the largest. Developers have proposed 60,000 square feet of retail space and about 96 gas pumps for the travel center.

Many residents from the neighborhood opposed the project, saying it would bring noise and traffic.

But others supported the project, saying it would bring jobs and new sales tax revenue to the city.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.