Will Dollar General go ahead with plans for a new store on Highway 73 at Amity Church Road? It's hard to be sure. Legally, Teramore Development can go ahead with building the store on property at the intersection it owns and which is already zoned for commercial use. But will Dollar General want to open another store in an area where a majority of the neighborhood appears to oppose it?
Josh Hufstetler of Teramore Development said at the public hearing March 6th on two requests related to the project that he wishes now he had held a public meeting to talk about plans for the store before taking the requests before the Planning Board and Commissioners. He promised to hold a public meeting the following week--but none was held, and our call to his office was not returned after we left a message seeking information about the proposed project and a possible public meeting date.
The two requests Hufstetler brought to the public hearing were (1) to rezone an additional 0.88 acre from R-T (Transitional Residential) to B-N (Neighborhood Business). The property is part of a 2.4-acre parcel located on the northwest corner of NC73 and Amity Church Road in Ironton Township. The rest of the parcel is already zoned for business and a new Dollar General could be built there with or without any further action by the Planning Board or Commissioners. Hufstetler said the main reason for asking for the rezoning of the .88 acre is to create a holding pond for runoff during rainstorms. The plans for a store on the site also makes use of the extra area for a septic tank, but that could be located on the already commercially zoned property with a redesign for the project. (2) to get approval from Commissioners to allow Dollar General unencumbered entrance and exit from its parking lot onto Highway 73. The County's UDO says that businesses that locate at the intersection of a major thoroughfare and another road can only have a right in/right out to and from the major highway unless given approval for entrances and exits both ways by the Commissioners.
Hufstetler and a representative of a firm hired to conduct a traffic survey said the Department of Transportation had approved an unencumbered entrance and exit, but Commissioners can still turn that down if they choose.
All of those (with the exception of Hufstetler and his party) appearing spoke against the two requests at the public hearing. Most of those who spoke live on Countrytyme Lane, a dead end road on the other side of Highway 73 from the proposed Dollar General. Their main concern was traffic.
The intersection doesn't qualify for a traffic signal according to the Department of Transportation, but residents of the area insist that one is needed. A curve just to the west makes entry onto Highway 73 from Countrytyme Lane dangerous. The speed limit is 50 (which it is from just east of the NC27 intersection to just west of East Lincoln High School) but traffic quite often exceeds that speed limit.
The Planning Board, in its meeting after the joint session March 6th voted 8-0 to table the requests.
Residents opposing the store location have posted signs up and down Highway 73 opposing the project. They've created a website stopdg.com.
As discussed at the public hearings, Teramore can go ahead and build a Dollar General store at the proposed location, but the plans for the store may have to be changed to fit the lot if the additional property is not rezoned. As for the unencumbered entry and exit directly only Highway 73, that request appears very unlikely to be granted. If the Dollar General store isn't built, given current zoning, the land could be used for another commercial enterprise--such as a convenience grocery.
The big question now may very well be, given the community atmosphere related to the project, would it be in Dollar General's best interest to proceed?
to have us email you our
newest stories every day.