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home : opinion : e-opinion November 24, 2017

3/12/2017 3:48:00 PM
Letter to the Editor
Community Over Convenience - Stop Dollar General In Iron Station

Cal Turner, Jr., son of the Dollar General’s original founder was once quoted as saying that “small town America contributes to a better life. I think you have to make an effort to be a better person (in a small town) because people know your habits, there is a closeness, and an accountability and there is a priceless spirit.”

Sadly, we, the citizens of Iron Station saw firsthand how far the Dollar General Corporation has strayed from the founding family’s concept of small town community spirit and accountability during the recent Lincoln County Board of Commissioners meeting on March 7th.

Dollar General wishes to construct a 9,100 square foot retail store at the intersection of Highway 73 and Amity Church Road. For the vast majority of us, a public hearing sign at the intersection of the two roads was the very first notice given by Dollar General of its intent. It was also the first opportunity for our community to have a say as to whether we really wanted their bright yellow and gold sign greeting us each day as we enter Highway 73.

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Only two items needed the commissioners’ vote that night to make it a done deal and begin the groundbreaking. They were the rezoning of a small parcel of land from residential to business to be included with the already rezoned business site and a request to grant Dollar General full entrance and egress from Highway 73. This would be in addition to the primary proposed entrance/exit at the lesser travelled but still quite busy Amity Church Road.

This brings me to one of the primary concerns voiced repeatedly during the meeting - traffic and safety issues that such a store would cause. Two-lane Amity Church Road serves a connector for traffic north and south from Highways 150 and 73. Dead-ending at the intersection of the proposed site, traffic already backs up each morning as cars await the opportune time to make their turn on to a very busy highway. Add the traffic moving in and out of proposed store and you have a logistical nightmare. Now consider Highway 73, the main highway from Lincolnton to Denver and beyond. This two-lane highway regularly sees all types of vehicles from the eighteen wheelers hauling lumber and raw materials, school buses loaded with elementary, middle, and high school students, and commuters heading to their jobs in Charlotte. Traffic during peak hours can be considerable and often times continuous during those hours. Couple that with a wicked curve in the road and limited visibility at the point of the proposed entrance and egress for Dollar General’s store and you are courting disaster. Residents along this stretch of highway are often forced to gun their vehicles pulling out of side streets so as to not be rear-ended by trucks clearly exceeding the mandated speed limit. Even a traffic survey on behalf of Dollar General revealed the need to reduce the speed at which traffic approaches from the west and recommended signage changes if Dollar General is permitted unfettered access to the highway. This study also works under the assumption that weather conditions were ideal and that visibility, while limited, was not further impaired by rain, snow, ice or the fog that seems to settle thick as a blanket in this area. We believe at the very least, NC DOT should be required to conduct its own study of the area and report its finding to all parties.

A second concern emerged during the course of the evening’s discussions. Why was our community even being targeted for this type of business? We welcome the growth of local businesses but even after hearing from a Teramore Development employee representing Dollar General, we failed to grasp the need for this store. (We have since learned of two other stores north and west of us are in the planning stages at the corners of Highway 150 and Lee Lawing Road and Highway 150 and Crouse Road.) We are a community well served by a number of grocery stores in Lincolnton and Denver as well as a locally owned mini-mart/gas station opposite the East Lincoln Middle School.

A Dollar General store at the proposed location will most certainly impact, if not drive this family operated store right out of business as well as that small town closeness and priceless spirit Mr. Turner was so keen on.

For these reasons and others, I stand with the concerned citizens of Iron Station in opposition to this proposed Dollar General store. If you feel as I do, I ask that you visit our website, and sign our petition. With your support and that of others, we might just be able to pull off this David v.s. Goliath move! I remain optimistic but infinitely wiser of the need to have our collective voices heard in any future land planning issues to prevent the unregulated growth we have all seen in other counties.

Lisa Estrada
Iron Station, N.C.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, August 28, 2017
Article comment by: Tom D

Here comes another Dollar General!! Corner of Hwy 150 and Lee Lawing Rds. They are requesting a rezoning. Hearing is 9/11.

Posted: Monday, March 13, 2017
Article comment by: Christopher Estrada

Very well written

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