Residents who live near proposed site of Dollar General voice concerns to county commissioners
BY KARISSA MILLER
Iredell County commissioners held a public hearing on Tuesday to receive input about a request to rezone approximately 1.69 acres off Ostwalt Amity Road near Mooresville from Residential Agricultural to Neighborhood Business Conditional District for a proposed Dollar General.
Teramore Development LLC plans to build a 9,100-square-foot store at the site on the corner of Ostwalt Amity and Bethesda Road.
Vice Chairman Tommy Bowles told the audience that Teramore's engineer for the project could not attend the meeting, which will be continued at 7 p.m. on Sept. 3.
Commissioners are expected to vote on the rezoning request on that date.
Bowles, who presided over the meeting in Chairman James Mallory’s absence, opened up the public hearing for those who wanted to speak.
Roughly a dozen people who live near the site of the proposed Dollar General attended the meeting; however, only a handful shared their concerns, which included criminal activity, increased traffic and their desire to preserve the rural character of the area.
Ann-Marie Richard said she opposes the rezoning because the site is an isolated rural area. There are already two Dollar Generals within 4.5 miles from her home, she said.
“I checked. There’s approximately 19 (Dollar General stores) in Iredell County. I think we’re covered,” Richard said.
A former law enforcement officer, she said her other concern is crime.
“Those employees are going to be open for crime. They are out in the middle of nowhere and there’s no other business around,” she explained.
Richard shared some data regarding the amount of calls for service, which trends more upward in rural Dollar General areas than in municipalities.
The Dollar General in Troutman had 58 calls for service in the last year, she said.
Of the two Dollar General stores located on Old Mountain Road, one had 46 calls and the other had 126 calls for service, she added. The Dollar General located on U.S. 21 and Highway 115 had 225 calls for service.
Dave Calary, who now resides on Ostwalt Amity Road, recently moved to the area from the coast.
“I do a lot of traveling around the state of North Carolina and have paid particular attention Dollar Generals and their locations," he said. "I’ve yet to see one in the middle of an absolute residential area.”
Calary said he has concerns about traffic in the area of Bethesda Road.
“I know when people turn that corner right now, Bethesda Road is a drag strip,” he added.
Lastly, he spoke of concerns regarding what is outlined in the Horizon 2030 plan. Calary pointed out that the land use maps list the area as strictly residential agriculture or land that remains rural in character. This doesn’t allow for multi-family buildings, apartment complexes or give any opportunities for commercial application, he added.
Marsha Greer said her family chose to live in a rural area for a reason.
“I know for a fact that if you lived out in the country you wouldn’t want one in your backyard,” Greer said. “That’s the reason we moved to the country to get away from all of that.”
Officials said Dollar General thrives on being located out in middle of nowhere, away from competitors. They generate business by being a convenient stop, so that their customers don’t drive into town for small grocery items and other goods.
According to its application, Dollar General will provide retail sales of food and general merchandise sold as convenience items to serve the immediate neighborhood that it is located.
Teramore Development will have the chance to explain why the commissioners should rezone the property at the Sept. 3 meeting. Members of the public will also have an opportunity to weigh in and ask questions at that meeting.
The meeting will take place inside the commissioners meeting room at Iredell Government Center, 200 S. Center Street, Statesville, at 7 p.m.