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East Roane Dollar General on agenda today

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By Damon Lawrence

By DAMON LAWRENCE

dlawrence@roanecounty.com

The Dollar General Store in Kingston is about a 15-minute drive from where Hwy. 70 intersects with Country Lane in East Roane County.

Ray Cantrell said he’d like to see one closer to his rural community — and that could happen.

Dollar General wants to locate a store where the highway intersects with Country Lane, but a zoning change from developing agriculture to rural business needs to first happen.

“I live within a mile of it from where the crow flies, and I’d like to have it for my own convenience,” Cantrell said about the proposed store.

“I live close enough that if I needed a quart of oil for my lawn mower I wouldn’t have to drive another 15 minutes to get it. I could get it right there.”

The 3-acre site is owned by William and Joanna McCarroll.

Dollar General representative Melissa Ballard told the Roane County Commission last month her company is under contract to purchase the property.

“Three acres is almost three times the size that we normally purchase to build a Dollar General of this size,” Ballard said.

“We had that much property available to us from one seller, so we opted to do that to create some buffers of privacy between the store and the residents that are around us.”

The commission meets today – Monday – at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Kingston.

The McCarrolls’ rezoning request for the Dollar General is on the agenda under old business.

“I also believe it will be good for the county as far as revenue and jobs,” Cantrell said about the proposed store. “We need more of that.”

There are also people in the community who oppose the store.

“This is a beautiful rural area, and most of us moved here for that reason,” wrote Shirley McCracken in a Dec. 13 letter to officials.

“We get few services from the county here, and that is OK,” she continued. “We knew that when we moved here over 40 years ago.

“We want to keep our peace and quiet. Please help us prevent commercial development here.”

McCracken also expressed concerns about traffic.

“It is bad enough that every time Interstate 40 is closed because of a wreck, which is often, traffic is rerouted to U.S. (Hwy.) 70, and most of it is semi-truck traffic,” she wrote.

“This site also has a blind curve just west of it, making a left turn out of Country Lane a challenge even without heavy traffic.”

Ballard said the company is looking for the access point to the store to come off Country Lane, and Dollar General is working with the Department of Transportation to try and get the access off the highway.

“There’s one delivery per week of the big truck,” she said.

“Other trucks, like the Coca Cola truck, Pepsi trucks, those small trucks will have delivery access, but it’s all during business hours … We don’t have late-night deliveries for anything.”

Concerns have also been expressed about how a Dollar General would impact Dutton’s Grocery, a mom-and-pop store less than a minute from the proposed Dollar General site.

Cantrell said he doesn’t think Dutton’s would be impacted because it offers some things the Dollar General wouldn’t, such as gas.

Commissioners had a chance to vote on the rezoning request last month, but a majority opted to postpone it to the Jan. 12 meeting.