The zoning application for the proposed Buc-ee’s Efland Station has been withdrawn by the Texas gas station and convenience store chain.
In a statement released Friday, Stan Beard, the company’s director of real estate, said Orange County is “not a suitable fit” for the project, which would have been located off Exit 161 of the Interstate 40/85 corridor.
“Unfortunately, Orange County Commissioners were not receptive to 200 jobs with starting pay of $15 per hour and full benefits, more than $1 million in direct tax revenue and multiple services that would create additional jobs, tax revenue and benefit a sector of the community that has been historically underserved,” Beard said.
Various organizations from Efland, a rural community of around 730 residents, and across Orange County opposed the development on the basis it would bring traffic and environmental problems to the community.
Other environmental organizations, such as the Eno River Association and the Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District expressed their concerns to the Board of Commissioners about the project. They cited the public health and environmental consequences of any sort of spill or accident from the project, which would have had 120 gas pumps and a 250-foot car wash.
Commissioner Renee Price said the goals of Buc-ee's and the goals of the county were not in alignment, though she hopes the chain can find a suitable location. She said the project would not fulfill the county's goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050 and also voiced concerns about the watershed and potential contamination.
"I think the overwhelming majority of people in Orange County are concerned about the environment and trying to reduce our dependence upon fossil fuels," she said. "And then, water is so important to life."
Buc-ee’s is still committed to expanding its company across the Southeast and North Carolina, and said it would evaluate other sites statewide for travel centers.
“We remain committed to North Carolina, and are confident we will find another location that is suitable to the unique travel experience Buc-ee’s brings,” Beard said.