‘I can’t sleep at night ’cause I think, I know, I know the dangers of what’s there…’
(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) Parents in Fort Mill, SC, are outraged that a controversial establishment has been slated to be built right next to an elementary school.
The project in question? A 7-Eleven gas station.
WCNC News reported that it’s caused an outcry in this family-friendly Charlotte suburb.
“We heard so much about Fort Mill schools that we literally chose this area,” said Kristy DeJesus, a mother of five children.
DeJesus is just one of many protesting the construction project, which has Fort Mill parents terrified to the point of insomnia.
“I think about it at night,” she said. “I can’t sleep at night ’cause I think, I know, I know the dangers of what’s there, and I’m going to send my kids to school.”
Unfortunately, it seems like parents are powerless to stop the gas station. The town’s mayor says the property was zoned for commercial use before the school was built, and there’s nothing to prevent a gas station from being built there.
“We are asking every question that we can, but legally where they have it planned and where they have designed it, they have a right to put it,” conceded Mayor Guynn Savage.
According to city documents, the 7-Eleven has all the hallmarks of a gas station.
The WCNC article breathlessly reported that both gas pumps and underground fuel storage tanks will be included—and placed just hundreds of feet away from Doby’s Bridge Elementary School (and its playground), where children as young as 5 attend.
Perturbed by reports of the gas station being built, NBC Charlotte reached out to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to get to the bottom of the situation.
In response, DHEC assured the news station that the department’s Underground Storage Tank Control Regulations “specify installation and operating requirements for UST systems with a goal of preventing releases into the environment,” that the systems are inspected annually, and that the Environmental Protection Agency sets additional federal standards for gas stations.
DHEC did not address the gas station’s proximity to the school, noting: “Zoning decisions are typically made by local municipalities.”