FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW)– Residents of the Oakdale neighborhood in Florence County are putting up a fight after finding out a zoning change could bring a Dollar General to the area.
Residents said they were first made aware of the potential change last week and were told that the new store could open its doors soon. They said they do not want that to happen because they fear it could turn their quiet community into a strip mall.
Hundreds of residents have signed petitions against the rezoning, which would change a plot near the corner of Pine Needles and Stratton roads from “rural community” to “general commercial.”
“That’s something I was opposed to from the start,” Ron Williamson, one of the neighborhood’s residents said.
Williamson said he was the first in the quiet neighborhood to find out about the potential change in a letter sent to him by the county because his house is across the street from the plot. He called the planning department and was told a Dollar General would be built at the top of his street.
“I’m not one to tell people what they can do with their property,” Williamson said. “On the other hand, when what you do with your property affects my property, especially the value of it, I think I should have some say-so.”
He got in touch with his neighbors, who agreed to take action.
“To change the aura of the whole neighborhood,” Michael Jupiter, Williamson’s neighbor said. “With the trees gone, this is almost reminiscent of what they are doing to the rainforests.”
Residents said they fear the traffic and crime that a new store could bring to the neighborhood. They said there is already a grocery store and a convenience store just down the road, as well as a Dollar General less than two miles away.
“The sad thing is, knocking on doors, people had no idea what was going on until we enlightened them,” Oakdale resident David Milligan said.
Many of the residents plan to attend the Florence County Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night to air their grievances. They said they hope it will make a difference.
“We aren’t opposed to the growth of commercial business,” Milligan said. “That’s why there is a redevelopment on the other side of the interstate. That’s where we shop. Coming into this side on the two-lane road, it’s just encroaching on the residents that live here, and it’s unwelcome.”
News13 reached out to Dollar General and a spokesperson confirmed that the company is in the “due diligence” stage of “reviewing the opportunity” to add a new store in the area. They said the plans should be finalized by the summer.