There's some new movement on the future of Cooks Crossroads. It’s a busy intersection of Highway 165 and Highway 61 in Dorchester County.
Plans to develop that area have been years in the making. It still remains untouched but that could change soon. On Tuesday evening, Dorchester County Council voted to allow the use of a singular convenience store or gas station in the Cooks Crossroads overlay district. The motion passed the third reading 6-to-1.
Dorchester County council passed design plans back in 2018 with the hope of transforming the area into a lively center with shops and restaurants. The plan didn’t include a convenience store or gas station. Council met Tuesday to discuss whether to allow a Parker’s Kitchen to go up at the intersection. More than a dozen people showed up to voice their concerns.
Those in opposition don’t believe a gas station fits the overall vision for this corridor and worry about the environmental impacts on the nearby Ashley River.
“The state and the county have invested a lot of money in that area and to start out with a gas station is not the right step,” said George McDaniel, Ph.D, chairman of the Dorchester Trust Foundation.
“Parker’s Kitchen is fine, but it sets a low bar for economic development and it establishes a high risk for pollution of the Ashley River, which is a state scenic river,” McDaniel said. “The risk of pollution from all the customer spills of gas, oil, accidental spills, where’s that water going to go?”
Councilmember Jay Byars said he shares those concerns, particularly regarding architectural continuity and keeping pollution out of the nearby river.
“We want to make sure the design is correct. We’ve said all along we want to make sure we get the right design,” Byars said. “There are certainly a lot of people that don’t want to see that there, but I also see from a lot of people, hear from a lot of people who are like, ‘Hey we would love to have something more convenient, just make sure it’s done correctly’ so we’re trying to weigh both sides of that.”
Cooks Crossroads isn’t far from a gas station. There are currently two located 1.4 miles down the road.
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