HOLLAND -- Despite opposition from area farm families, the Holland City Council has approved rezoning a residential lot near the intersection of Highways 287 and 36 to allow a Dollar General Store to come in.
The Holland Community Center was packed Monday night for the regularly scheduled September city council meeting.
Aldermen were tasked whether voting in favor of or denying Dollar General representatives to set up shop in the small town after the planning and zoning commission struck down a rezoning request on Aug. 13.
Developers appealed their request to the Holland City Council and asked officials to consider rezoning 973 Highway 287 from a residential to a commercial plot so that a small, Dollar General Store could be constructed. Following a unanimous vote Monday night, developers can now move forward with their plans.
Charissa Tillery, a resident who lives on the Mabry Century Farm, stood in opposition before aldermen took to a vote.
"Our farm has been in my family for well over 100 years [and was] homesteaded by my great-great-great grandfather," she said. "It has been passed down from generation to generation as agricultural land and now to me and [my] mom as we raise cattle and cut hay on this farm. We do not want to look out and see a commercial business alongside our cattle and worry about what could possibly happen to them or our farm when we are not around or at night."
Tillery and her family, along with other neighboring farm families, are concerned of litter, damage to road infrastructure and an increase in crime with this new addition to the town that about 550 people call home.
With other Dollar General Stores located nearby, Tillery said she did not see the need to take away from the natural beauty of the country escape Holland residents currently boast.
Paxton Singleton, representing Dollar General Store engineers, said despite concerns that lighting would be an issue in the area, all parking lot lighting would be directed downward, and not outward at the neighboring farms.
The proposed location at the corner of Highways 287 and 36 would have a single entrance off Highway 287 and would also feature a six-foot privacy fence between the parking lot and the Mabry Farm to keep from disturbing the farm family and its livestock. Blueprints show the parking lot will sit 75 feet from the Mabry Farm property line.
Singleton also advised city officials that should alderman vote against rezoning the property, Dollar General representatives would instead pick another location that most likely would not be within range for the small town to collect tax revenue.
Holland currently has no commercial businesses to obtain tax revenue from.
Aldermen ultimately voted unanimously in favor of rezoning the property, passing an emergency clause that allows developers to immediately begin working.
JT Meister, a representative from Commercial Realty on Dollar General's behalf, told the Log Cabin Democrat that developers expect to break ground by November.
Construction of the small-town Dollar General Store is expected to be completed by March 2019, he said.
The Holland Community Center was filled with mixed emotions following the council's decision. Several in the audience seemed saddened by the council's vote, and others expressed excitement.
Aldermen Ashley Kirkpatrick said she believes this addition will greatly benefit Holland residents.
In other business, Mayor Ronnie McGaha updated the council on two city projects, stating work has begun to construct a city storm shelter on Sawmill Road and that he plans to apply for a grant to help fund expanding the city's walking trail.
The council is scheduled to meet again at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Holland Community Center. Council meetings are open for the public to attend.