Edinburgh council votes down DG Market rezone

Doubts from Edinburgh Town Council members Monday voted down a project to bring a DG Market to State Road 252.

Meeting attendees broke into applause after a 3-2 vote to deny a rezoning proposal for the grocery store concept from Dollar General. The 12,480-square-foot store would’ve included household items and a full line of groceries, including fresh meat and produce. It would’ve also been larger than the existing Edinburgh Dollar General and the next closest location in Flat Rock.

The rezoning proposal was for 3.7 acres at 7778 E. State Road 252, currently owned by Daniel Rooks. The proposal would’ve changed the zoning of the property from suburban residential, or R-1, to RB roadside business.

Council president Ryan Piercefield delivered the tie-breaking vote, sharing concerns about road safety with the lack of a turn lane in the plans for the store, along with worries about additional traffic the DG Market might bring to the main throughway in town.

“I would like more options in town and I was set for it until you said you didn’t want a turn lane. I have personally carried a 10-year-old boy dead on that road because of the traffic,” Piercefield said. “My family lives right on that corner, I would love for a Dollar General to be in this town. I like going there and buying groceries, but I’m concerned about the turn lane. I’ve been a firefighter my entire adult life and I’ve experienced real tragedy.”

The developer’s representative, Will McDonough, balked at adding a turn lane and said there wouldn’t be enough traffic created by the DG Market to warrant one.

The store would’ve been bordered to the west by Edinburgh Family Dentistry, and residential property to the north, east and south. With the vote to deny rezoning, the project cannot move forward.

Council members Miriam Rooks and Debbie Buck, both stood by the unfavorable recommendation vote they made during last month’s plan commission meeting last month. Council members Jeff Simpson and Dawn Graham were in favor of the rezone, but their votes weren’t enough to save the project.

“We will never grow if we don’t do something,” Graham said. “We can’t keep stopping things.”

About 25 members of the public came to the meeting. Of those who spoke during the public hearing, all but one resident was against the rezone. Residents shared concerns about potential robberies at the store, increased traffic and a potential decrease in nearby property values.

Mike Miller, who lives near the property, said he would leave Edinburgh if the Dollar General was built.

“If this happens, I’m moving,” he said. “You would think, as a town, you want to bring people in. You gotta think of your image. A dollar store is not the right image. I’m leaving if you do this. You think you’ll add people to the community by adding businesses that devalue the community. That ‘for sale’ sign is going up if this happens. I don’t want to do that.”

Resident Fran Cecil said Dollar Generals are a target for robberies. He referenced a CNN article that said 29% of 2019 commercial robberies in Dayton, Ohio took place in Dollar General locations and a report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance stating 156 people were killed while 329 people were injured in chain dollar store shootings between 2014 and 2021, citing data from the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks shootings in the United States.

“They have lax security, thin staffing, and are easy targets for crime,” Cecil said.

Police Chief Doyne Little said the existing Edinburgh Dollar General on U.S. 31 hasn’t experienced a robbery during the two decades he’s been with the department when asked by Edinburgh resident Johnny Burton, who spoke in favor of the project.

Burton said businesses like this one would help rather than hurt the town’s growth.

“Everyone on the board just wants to get the town to grow. We need more stores if we want more households,” Burton said. “It can’t take 10 people to represent the whole town. We need more places to buy groceries and buy stuff. You have to think about the whole town.”