Salisbury Planning Board OKs rezoning for new concept Dollar General

Published 8:59 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2022

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Planning Board on Tuesday signed off on rezoning a parcel to accommodate a new Dollar General location with a twist.

The lot is on the corner of Old Mocksville Road and Seventh Street Extension, directly across the street from Ivan’s Restaurant. Teramore Development is petitioning to get the lot rezoned to get a small increase in square footage on the project.

The Planning Board signed off on the rezoning 4-3, but it has to go to the Salisbury City Council for final approval.

Teramore’s Daniel Almazan said the developer wants to build a 10,640 square-foot store. That is more than 10,000 square-foot limit allowed under the neighborhood mixed-use zoning classification currently on the lot, so the developer wants the property rezoned to corridor mixed-use with a conditional district overlay to accommodate its plans. The developer was also looking for exceptions to maximum setback, using opaque windows and an exception on the number of inter-lot connectivity points because of the site.

The store would be larger than a typical Dollar General location because it would be a “fresh” concept store — offering fresh produce and expanded coolers when compared to a typical location that offers basics such as nonperishables, bread, milk and frozen items in its grocery section.

Almazon said the store would still house all the typical home essentials sold at regular locations.

Attorney Mike Fox, of Greensboro firm Tuggle Duggins, represented Teramore during the meeting. He said the main concerns about the project from a neighborhood meeting held in 2021 were traffic, property value impact and crime.

The developer team brought out experts to speak about concerns surrounding the project, including an engineer to talk about traffic impact and an appraiser to speak about property values. The engineer said the only recommendation was to place the entrance at least 100 feet from the intersection, and the report created for the developer was sent to the N.C. Department of Transportation with no concerns. The appraiser claimed property values should not be affected positively or negatively.

On crime, Teramore hired consultant Ken Miller to perform an analysis on the store site and Rowan County locations of Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree.

He told the Planning Board there are two outliers in terms of crime among those — Family Dollar near downtown Salisbury and Dollar General at 335 North Salisbury Ave., both active with vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Miller said outside of those outliers there was a rate of two crimes per year per store. He did not say how many total crimes were reported and the nature of the crimes at the sites with higher rates. However, Miller claimed none of the stores have had violent crimes reported in the past year.

In May 2021, the Post reported about fight in a Dollar General parking lot on Woodleaf Road.

Over the years, the Post also has reported a handful of robberies at Dollar General locations. A Dollar General on Mooresville Road was robbed after a man told employees he was armed in December of 2020. In 2019, a man robbed a Dollar General on Statesville Boulevard at gunpoint. In May 2018, an Enochville Dollar General location was robbed. In February 2017, there was an armed robbery at the Salisbury Avenue location. In June 2017, there was an armed robbery at a U.S. 601 Dollar General location.

Eva Nelson, a resident, spoke to the board about her concerns during the meeting. She said most residents are in favor of responsible growth. She questioned the merits of the project, pointing to incidents of violent crime, including the 2021 incident, and questioned Dollar General’s security and employment practices.

Fox said one retail establishment does not typically cause more crime than another and the crimes at local Dollar Generals are not disproportionate, though there may be an illusion of more crime in some areas.

Ben Fisher, another resident who lives near the site, said he is a local developer and not opposed to growth, but he said sustainable development revolves around urban density that creates downtown cores and protects rural area from sprawl. He questioned the location of the site and noted its proximity to game lands and conserved land. Fisher also noted there are other Dollar General locations a few miles away.

Kathy Seybold also spoke to the board and questioned the need for the store.

Victor Wallace, a real estate professional whose firm owns the property, said he lived in the country club neighborhood for more than 20 years and still has friends, family and employees that live there. He questioned if the neighborhood would embrace a different store. He said he would not do anything to hurt the neighborhood.

“When Dollar General approached us about this project, it was to offer a grocery component to their existing offerings,” Wallace said. “That seems to be what the area needs, as I, again, lived there for 25 years.”

Wallace said he would have used the store himself when he lived there.

Board Chair John Schaffer voiced a concern about creating a small zoning island in what is already a small zoning island in a mostly residential area. Board member Liliana Spears said she thinks rezoning the parcel would be the best use of the land whether for this project or another.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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