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Planning board approves second Dollar General in Rockwell area

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Planning Board on Monday gave its approval to a rezoning allowing for a Dollar General store at the intersection of N.C. 152 and Organ Church Road.

The rezoning came in front of a crowd of people, most of whom opposed the store and cited concerns ranging from additional traffic to how it might affect nearby, locally owned businesses. The vote to approve the rezoning was 8-0, with newly elected Chairman Andrew Poston recusing himself because he’s planning to build a house on land near the proposed site.

Among the benefits cited by representatives of Teramore Development, a developer of Dollar General stores that requested the rezoning, were the creation of nine jobs, an estimated property tax value of $1.3 million and estimated sales of $1.7 million a year.

Glenda McCullough, who lives on Organ Church Road, said the intersection where the store is proposed is busy and that it can be hard at times to get out of her driveway. A hill on Organ Church Road obstructs the view.

“I have to go fast just to come out safely,” McCullough said.

Curtis Leach, the owner of the nearby Curt’s Variety and Discount store, was among those opposed. Leach said his store meets the needs of nearby residents, that his business gives back to the community and that a Dollar General store would not.

Leach said Dollar General stores aren’t typically well-kept. A Dollar General store on West Main Street in Rockwell looks like a “trash hole,” he said.

Besides the Rockwell store, the next-closest Dollar General is near Carson High School on N.C. 152.

Later, Trudy Davis, speaking in favor of the rezoning for a Dollar General, made similar complaints about Leach’s store, saying it is not clean. Davis said having a Dollar General would be nice because it would mean residents could shop nearby and skip a trip to Salisbury, China Grove or Rockwell.

Others speaking in favor kept their comments short, simply saying they live nearby and would be OK continuing to do so with a Dollar General nearby.

Representatives of Teramore Development responded to complaints by saying the matter at hand wasn’t whether it is OK to build a Dollar General store. Instead, the Planning Board was debating whether to approve a rezoning from rural agricultural (RA) to commercial, business and industrial (CBI) — which allows for a wide range of uses, including a Dollar General.

On nearby tracts with similar zoning are Sifford’s Oil Co., Bost Tune Up, a battery sales business, a tanning and hair salon, and a mini-storage facility.

Before voting to approve the rezoning request, Planning Board member Gregory Hannold agreed with those who spoke during the meeting and said traffic is “horrendous” at the intersection of Organ Church Road and N.C. 152. However, Hannold said the Dollar General store would add a minimal number of vehicles — Teramore Development representatives estimates seven cars per hour — and that the Planning Board’s job is to judge whether the proposed rezoning to CBI fits with “what the county said is the use of that area.”

Board member David Miller said it is not the Planning Board’s job to move cars and recommended that those worried about traffic in the area contact the N.C. Department of Transportation to express those concerns.

While he voted in favor of the rezoning, board member Jonathan Chamberlain said he was surprised that DOT was not barring the proposed store from allowing left turns into and out of the parking lot.

Assistant Planning Director Shane Stewart said DOT would require the store to move its driveway entrance farther south on Organ Church Road. Still, the state agency is expected to approve a driveway permit, Stewart said.

Following the Planning Board’s vote, Vice Chairman Pete Bogle told the crowd that Monday’s decision would not be the final one. The Rowan County commissioners must give final approval to the rezoning.

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