Residents against O'Kelly Chapel Gas Station
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This Gas Station will be adjacent to the new elementary school, near three day care centers, and in the midst of single family homes.
Here is a quote from a peer reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health, "Increased risk of childhood leukemia was found with residential addresses near gas stations and repair garages". [Link]
Here is quote from another study in 2004: "There was an association between dwellings neighbouring a petrol station or a repair garage during childhood and the risk of childhood leukaemia (Odds Ratio: 4), with a duration trend. The association, which appeared particularly strong for acute non-lymphocytic leukaemia (Odds Ratio: 7.7)." [Link] [Full PDF]
More studies and articles are linked down below in the references section.
This plan is short sighted because it will actually reduce real estate tax revenues in the long term by affecting real estate prices around the Gas station [link] and ill conceived because epidemiological studies show that it no longer makes sense to put a Gas Station adjacent to an elementary school where young children will spend most of their days or near a residential neighborhood. In fact, the EPA's school sitting guidelines suggest that planners should, "Maximize distance [of a school] from transportation or other pollution sources" (page 49). [Link]
Historically, when this entire parcel was zoned for a commercial town center this plan might have made sense. But today, there is a school on most of the lot, and it no longer makes sense.
Over 1000 West Cary residents have signed this petition stating that we do not want a Gas station in our residential area, and we do not want a Gas Station directly next to the school where our kids will be spending a majority of their days, for a majority of the year.
Previously, there was a Gas Station planned to be put behind the Walgreens on Green Level Church Road - and that is an ideal location - because that part of West Cary does not have a gas station. This part of West Cary already has a Sheetz on 55 and Kit Creek.
Other locations that can be considered for a gas station are O'Kelly and 55, or in Parkside Town Commons. These other locations make much better business sense as well.
The reasons, we, the real estate tax payers of West Cary, do not want a Gas Station at this location, are as follows:
- Health Concerns: Gas stations emit benzene and other hydro carbons. Benzene is a well documented carcinogen. Children who live near Gas Stations are more likely to develop childhood cancers. Here are links to papers published showing this association   . This is particularly disconcerting because this Gas Station is directly next to an elementary school, where our children will spend the majority of their days, for a majority of the year, for six of their formative years.
- Environmental Damage: No matter how safe they make the Gas Station; there will be spills and the smell of Gas will occasionally be present in all neighboring communities. The gas will get into our water bodies, our sewers and our air. It happens all the time near Gas Stations. Here are links to just a few examples, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The list of such examples is essentially endless.
- Sight, Sound and Odor Pollution: Nobody wants to sit in their backyard and see, smell and hear the continuous stream of cars flowing through a Gas Station. Particularly not the residents of Stonewater, Hortons Creek, Overlook at Amberly, Wrenhurst at Cary Park, Evans Farm, and Weycroft who bought expensive properties (read: high real estate taxes) around this proposed lot.
- Traffic Flow, Congestion and Crime: We do not want the additional traffic into our residential neighborhood. West Cary has traffic and congestion problems already. Google maps and GPS's will route all sorts of traffic from I-40 and I-540 right into our backyards and near our day care centers and elementary schools.
- Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Accidents: Children will be tempted to go to the Gas Station to buy Candy. For some neighborhoods this means children will be crossing the street. Anyone who has lived near O'Kelly Chapel, which already has its fair share of accidents and congestion, knows that the last thing we need is more traffic and children crossing that road.
- Real Estate Value: Lastly, and most importantly, Parents think twice before buying homes near Gas Stations. This will affect the real estate prices of all homes in this area of West Cary - which till this point - has been one of the fastest growing real estate markets in Cary. I have personally spoken to many parents who have said that they will move if a Gas Station is built on this site. Here is a link to a Zillow thread on how property values will most likely decrease near a multi pump gas station.
This plan is not set in stone. It is currently under review by the staff of Town of Cary. We are the people paying the real estate taxes and we have a voice. We do not want a Gas Station at this location. Together we can stop this from happening.
What can you do? Checklist below. Do all of the following.
- Email your discontent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com make sure it is addressed to Cary Town Council Representative for District A, Jennifer Robinson.
- Be sure that any communication you make is done in a friendly and professional manner. Remember, that the people on the town council are our friends and neighbors. And while the decision to put a gas station next to an elementary school may be misguided, they have worked tirelessly to make Cary the wonderful city that it is. In my experience they have been very responsive to any concerns from the residents and I respect the work that they do. If you can't phrase your thoughts in a civil and courteous way, please do not say anything at all.
- Propose that the Town of Cary move this Gas Station site to a more sensible location, like the original planned location behind the Walgreens on Green Level in Park Town Center. Near O'Kelly and 55, or in Parkside Town Commons are also locations that can be considered instead. These other locations make much better business sense as well.
- If your children are going to Hortons Creek Elementary School talk to the Principal and School authorities and share your concerns with them.
- If your children to go to any of the day care centers contact the management of the day care center and share your concerns with them.
- If you are a member of UNC Wellness Center, share your concerns with management of the wellness center and share your concerns with them.
- If you a resident of the neighboring communities (Stonewater, Hortons Creek, Evans Farm, Weycroft, Overlook at Amberly, Wrenhurst at Cary Park), share your concerns with your HOA.
- Go to the next Western Cary Community Meeting and share your concerns. (Will update details later)
- Current similar protest going on in Glen Ellyn, Illinois [More info on this protest]
- Current similar protest going on in Pomona, California
- Current similar protest going on in Towson, Maryland - Residents were able to force a town to reconsider the gas station!
- News paper article from a similar protest in Denver in 2015
- Article on Benzene and Childhood Leukemia
- Article in Scientific American on parents avoiding homes near gas stations
- Thread on zillow about decreasing property values near a multi pump gas station
- EPA School Sitting Guidelines
Jean D. Brender RN, PhD, Juliana A. Maantay PhD, MUP, and Jayajit Chakraborty PhD, MS Residential Proximity to Environmental Hazards and Adverse Health Outcomes [Link]
- Harrison RM, Leung PL, Somervaille L, Smith R, Gilman E. Analysis of incidence of childhood cancer in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom in relation to proximity to main roads and petrol stations. Occup Environ Med. 1999;56(11):774—780. [Link]
- Steffen C, Auclerc MF, Auvrignon A, et al. Acute childhood leukaemia and environmental exposure to potential sources of benzene and other hydrocarbons: a case-control study. Occup Environ Med. 2004;61(9):773—778. [Link]
- Weng HH, Tsai SS, Chiu HF, Wu TN, Yang CY. Childhood leukemia and traffic air pollution in Taiwan: petro station density as an indicator. J Toxicology Environ Health A. 2009;72(2):83—87. [Link]
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