Big Spring residents made their opinion crystal clear Tuesday evening about a potential zone amendment and Dollar General in the small unincorporated community during a standing-room only Hardin County Planning and Development Commission public hearing.
“When you see how many responded in opposition, Big Spring area doesn’t want this,” said Bob Griffith, an attorney who lived in Big Spring from 1987 to 2015 and owns several properties there.
The commission, after the two-and-a-half hour public hearing, denied a zone amendment request for property at 6418 Big Spring Road in Big Spring.
The request for a zone change from Rural Residential (R-2) to Convenience Commercial (C-1) to allow for the construction of a 9,100-sqaure-foot store was made by owners Michael and Brandi Stewart and applicant SC Development LLC.
Before any map amendment is granted, the planning commission considers the evidence and testimony presented by the proponents and opponents. Each side received 45 minutes to speak at the hearing conducted at the Hardin County Government Building.
Included in the record for commissioners to consider was more than 200 signatures on a petition, Stop a Dollar General from being built in Big Spring, KY on Change.org, and another 200 or so signed letters in opposition.
The proposed zone change was directly across the street from Big Spring Country Store. The effect the proposed change and the potential Dollar General would have on the local business was a major concern of residents. Several who spoke in opposition of the change stated history shows the community can only support one store. They said the addition of a Dollar General simply would add another empty building to the area.
“I know there are a lot of folks here that are concerned about the Big Spring Country Store and we are not here to look to put anybody out of business. That is not what we are trying to do. We are looking to provide another option for commercial retail in an area at a crossroads, in a area that will continue to move forward into the future,” said John Baker, a land use attorney in Kentucky with SE Development LLC.
The historical value of the property was another issue. Currently on the property is a two-story, 3,552-square-foot home, which is believed to have been standing since 1845.
Baker said the current owner bought the property about three years ago with intentions to restore it. However, once he got into the project “realized how far gone that structure is” and the cost.
Baker said the property has been for sale for two years.
It was noted in the staff report and by residents in opposition the home on the property would be eligible for the National Register of Historical Places. Griffith said Big Spring has multiple 19th century buildings and a new market is not historic.
“It is a modern building thrust into this historic town,” Griffith said. “It doesn’t make an attempt to blend in with the historic fabric of the town the way the Big Spring Country Store did.”
The environmental effect and public services were other issues. The Rineyville Volunteer Fire Department Station No. 2 is 6.2 miles from the site.
The closest Dollar General, according to its website, to Big Spring is about six miles away in Flaherty.
The decision to deny the request was unanimous. Commissioner Mark Hinton said the applicant has 21 days to file an appeal to Hardin Fiscal Court.