York County Councilman Robert Winkler said he “agonized” over whether to vote for a proposed zoning change that would have allowed a Dollar General store to open near Clover.
In the end, a swarm of angry local community members got their wishes granted.
The property in question is across the road from the historic McGill's General Store, a staple in the Bethany community since the store was built in 1888.
A proposal to rezone the property at the intersection of S.C. 161 and S.C. 55 near Clover from BD-I to BD-III was defeated during a third and final vote Monday in York.
Had the property been rezoned, Patton Development Co. would have been able to build a 9,100-square-foot Dollar General across from McGill’s, a local landmark.
“I’ve been more stressed about this vote than any other in a long time,” Winkler said.
Winkler said he had multiple meetings with local constituents, as well as the owners of McGill’s Store in the run-up to Monday's vote.
He said he wanted to balance the rights of the property owner with the concerns of the local community.
We do very little to restrict business. We should listen to the citizens a lot more. If we're not listening to the citizens, who are we listening to?
York County Council member William “Bump” Roddey
Winkler tacked on a number of mandatory conditions to try and make the zoning change a little more palatable. They included mandates to create inoffensive exterior lighting, build a “country-store design,” rather than block or brick exteriors, and a requirement that the property not be further subdivided.
“It’s already zoned for business,” Winkler said. “So I felt the best way to preserve that community was to put as many restrictions on it as possible.”
Other county council members said they had received tens of emails complaining about the development.
Council member William “Bump” Roddey voted to reject the zoning change, saying it represented the will of the people in that area.
“We do very little to restrict business,” he said. “We should listen to the citizens a lot more. If we’re not listening to the citizens, who are we listening to?”
Council member Michael Johnson argued that the council should not “pick winners and losers” in business, by determining which stores open and which didn't.
“Would I want a Dollar General down the street from me where I live? Probably not,” he said. “Is this private property that someone has the right to sell and profit off of it? Yes.”