HORSE SHOE — Faced with eight residents who opposed a new Dollar General on U.S. 64 west of Banner Farm Road, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners booted a decision so the developer could do a traffic study.
The rezoning of the 1.7-acre vacant parcel from rural residential to community commercial zoning was unanimously recommended by the Henderson County Planning Board on Feb. 21. The applicant, Broadway Development Group, is seeking the rezoning so Dollar General can build a 2,100-square-foot store between Horse Shoe Baptist Church and Patton Place Drive.
Commissioners on Monday directed the developer, the Broadway Group, to undertake a thorough study of roads, traffic and hazards within a half-mile radius if it wants the board's approval. If the developer declines, chairman Charlie Messer said, the board will likely not take up the rezoning.
Commissioner Grady Hawkins agreed with residents who pointed out that the commissioners themselves had authorized the land-use plan based on communitywide meetings and recommendations by local residents.
"You had a community come together out there and plan their community," said Commissioner Grady Hawkins. The land-use change for the Dollar General would come less than four years later, outside a sizable commercial district and after the board had voted not to extend commercial zoning in November 2010. "I just can't support that with what we're looking at."
Planners recommended that the developer shield lighting so it does not interfere with nearby homes, orient the building to face the street with parking on the side and back and erect buffers between the store and residential uses.
Residents said they feared the store would make it more difficult to get in and out of Sunshine Drive and Patton Place Drive and would cause traffic to stack up beyond Banner Farm Road as westbound traffic waited to turn left into the store.
"I think we definitely need a traffic impact study from an appropriate engineer to determine what the traffic impact is going to be here," said Commissioner Tommy Thompson.
Hawkins said he was reluctant to rezone the land contrary to what the community had recommended.
"This is what they said they wanted their community to look like," he said. "I'm a little reluctant to go to this one little piece and start picking on it." The sale of beer and wine may be out of the board's hands. "If it's approved, it's approved for whatever's allowed, and we just voted to have a wet county," he said.
Commissioners gave the developer 10 days to decide whether it would complete a traffic study and 90 days to do the study.
Melissa Ballard, the due diligence coordinator for Broadway, said the DOT had issued a driveway permit. DOT District Engineer Steve Cannon said that was not yet the case. The driveway permit is contingent on the Board of Commissioners approving the rezoning, he said.