The Amherst County Planning Commission voted 4-2 during its Jan. 16 meeting to approve a site plan for a new Dollar General store in the village of Elon.
The new store is planned for a site of 1.6 acres at 2515 Elon Road. The property is zoned Village District, V-1, and is currently vacant with ruins of a dwelling on a parcel for the project. The other parcel currently has a single-family dwelling, which is planned to be torn down, and a storefront, the staff report before the commission states.
The property will be reconfigured before the site plan is finalized in February, according to the county. The planned retail store is 9,100 square feet and the property is served by public water but not public sewer. The company is working with the Virginia Department of Health and the Amherst County Public Service Authority on utility connections.
The applicant is working with the Virginia Department of Transportation to secure a site distance easement or waiver for an entrance, according to the staff report documents.
The commission’s approval of the site plan requires no further action from the county’s board of supervisors. The plan’s approval includes a condition that several agencies, including VDOT, the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, also approve it.
Commissioners Jim Thompson and Michael Bryant voted against the site plan. Thompson, who lives in the Elon area, complimented the store’s design and said if fits in neatly with the village, which he described as a “neat community.” He said his concerns are with the site distance and traffic, especially tractor-trailers, coming through the area with a speed limit of 40 miles per hour.
Thompson was in favor of postponing action to hear directly from VDOT on the plan but Jeremy Bryant, director of community development, pointed out the expected date to finalize the plan is in early February before the commission next meets.
Michael Bryant said he is concerned with how other small stores in Elon could be affected by the new store, pointing out a few grocery stores closed after Walmart came to Madison Heights.
“I just worry about the impact it could have on the local stores that are already there,” he said.
Amherst County has three Dollar Store locations, two in Madison Heights and another in the Ambriar Plaza shopping center in the town of Amherst. In summer 2018, a Dollar General also opened in the Piney River area of Nelson County on Virginia 151 near the Amherst border.
Michael Russell, of the Amherst County Economic Development Authority, said he considers the new Dollar General to be a plus for the Elon area.