‘Our town is not a pit stop’ – Some oppose gas station, retail development in rural Orange County

Orange County News

EFLAND, N.C. (WNCN) – The Orange County Board of Commissioners is expected to discuss rezoning a piece of land that some say would turn their community into a truck stop.

Anyone who’s ever driven through the interchange for Interstate 40 and Interstate 85 in Orange County has been in Efland.

“It’s a small unincorporated community,” said Jared Cates.

For years, the tiny community of just over 700 has served as a stop-through for travelers.

“Folks in Efland have been waiting for development for a long time,” Cates said.

Due to its location between two major interstates, Texas-based Buc-ee’s is considering a 104-acre development known as Efland Station. It would add 120 gas pumps, 64,000 square feet of retail space, and add up to 200 jobs that pay a minimum of $15 an hour.

“Western Orange County needs jobs,” Cates said. “There’s folks who are looking for jobs that don’t want to drive 30 minutes or an hour to make $15 an hour.”

“The $15 an hour jobs are very attractive,” said commissioner Earl McKee.

In order to bring Buc-ee’s to town, the entrance to Efland would have to be reshaped. Exit 160 off of the interstate would be closed. McKee admitted it would impact existing businesses.

“There are always downsides to every project,” McKee said. “The realistic view is that no project is all blue skies and butterflies.”

Those concerns have driven more than 5,000 people to sign a petition blocking Buc-ee’s from breaking ground.

“Our town is not a pit stop,” Cates said.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners meets Tuesday for a public comment period where 92 people have signed up to speak.

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