Auburn is one step closer to a Buc-ee’s

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By Hannah Lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com 

The Auburn City Council approved a commercial development agreement with Buc-ee’s Auburn, LLC during its Tuesday night meeting. 

The approved agreement stipulates that the city will remit certain taxes. In exchange, Buc-ee’s will be creating tax revenue in the city, along with 175 new jobs and investing $45 million in Auburn. 

Once the remaining items of business related to the travel center are approved, Buc-ee’s will be located at Exit 50 on Interstate 85. 

Buc-ee’s is a popular travel stop that not only provides a place for refueling cars, but boasted clean restrooms, food choices galore and even souvenir items. 

“Welcome to Auburn,” said Ward 6 Council Member Bob Parsons. “When I mentioned to my sister-in-law that this was a possibility, she spent many years in Houston and she about did a dance on the floor when I told her.”

The agreement was approved Tuesday, while several other items related to Buc-ee’s were postponed, including two annexations, two rezoning and two conditional use approvals, all of which will come before the council on June 1. 

If the other items are approved, then Buc-ee’s will be responsible for installing a traffic signal on Exit 50’s on/off ramp, along with a right turn lane off Interstate 85 and another traffic signal at Cox Road and Corporate Parkway. All of which would require ALDOT approval, the city’s e-packet said. 

Buc-ee’s additionally plans to donate $50,000 per year to the city, which will be allowed in later budget discussions, said City Manager Megan Crouch. 

“We’re proud to have you here,” said Mayor Ron Anders to Stan Beard, director of real estate for Buc-ee’s. “We’re grateful that you thought our town was interesting enough and deserving enough to talk to in the beginning … your company is willing to be a great, corporate, charitable citizen of our community, too, and we’re very grateful for that. That evidently is just part of the culture of the company.”

The establishment will be adding 175 jobs to the area, which Ward 1 Council Member Connie Taylor said the members of her ward are particularly looking forward to. 

Buc-ee’s pays a minimum of $15 an hour, no matter the experience, Beard said. 

“Walking in, high school graduate or not, if you’re friendly and you can say ‘howdy,’” he said. 

There is a hopeful open date before the fall of 2022, Beard said. 

“We’re coming,” he said.

The items related to annexation, rezoning and conditional use for the land will come before the council on June 1. 

Other Business: 

  • The council approved an alcohol beverage license for Aysha Group of Industries, Inc. for Curry to Go and CapeLife. 
  • The council approved a concurrence with the industrial development board of the City of Auburn for the purchase of an industrial property on Lee Road 10.
  • The council approved a contract with LBYD Engineers, Inc. for the Gay Street Streetscape Project for over $35,000. 
  • The council approved a contract with US Digital Designs, Inc. for the emergency replacement of a G2 ATX station controller at Fire Station #3 for over $19,000 after the station sustained damage in recent storms. 
  • The council approved a commercial development agreement with Twister 5062, LLC. 
  • The council approved a contract with Postal Products Unlimited for the Pine Hill Cemetery Columbarium for over $54,000. 
  • The council approved an easement for Fabargus, LLC for a sidewalk easement and temporary construction easement for a property on Shug Jordan Parkway as part of the North Donahue Drive/Shug Jordan Parkway Improvements Project. 
  • The council approved an easement for Multi Aubal GS, LLC to accept drainage and utility easements for a property on South Gay Street in the Gay Street Retail Subdivision. 
  • The council postponed an annexation for Hubert Boatwright for the property needed for the Buc-ee’s travel stop. 
  • The council postponed an annexation for Harry and Alison Painter for the property needed for the Buc-ee’s travel stop. 
  • The council postponed a rezoning ordinance with Gonzales-Strength & Associates on behalf of Hubert Boatwright for the property needed for the Buc-ee’s travel stop.
  • The council postponed a rezoning ordinance with Gonzales-Strength & Associates on behalf of Harry & Alison Painter for the property needed for the Buc-ee’s travel stop.
  • The council approved a rezoning ordinance for JTF Properties, Inc. on behalf of Joel Funderburk for 0.41 acres from development district housing to medium density residential district for a property located at 601 and 603 Harper Avenue and 306 and 308 Summer Hill Road.
  • The council approved the zoning ordinance amendments related to the Downtown Design Standards. More information to come on this later. 
  • The council postponed a conditional use approval for Gonzales-Strength & Associates on behalf of Hubert Boatwright and Harry & Alison Painter for a road service use for the property needed for the Buc-ee’s travel stop.
  • The council postponed a conditional use approval for Gonzales-Strength & Associates on behalf of Hubert Boatwright and Harry & Alison Painter for an agricultural support use for the property needed for the Buc-ee’s travel stop.

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