A plan to build a Dollar General store on a lot near Kings Creek Elementary School has divided people who live nearby, with each side circulating a petition on the topic.

The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners voted on March 8 to delay a decision on a rezoning request that would allow the store, planned by The Broadway Group, a real estate developer, for a site at 3660 Wilkesboro Blvd.

Many in the crowd who came to the commissioners’ meeting adamantly oppose having Dollar General there. Among them was Charles Woodie of Blue Creek Road, who said that the nearby intersection has been the site of two serious wrecks, and he was worried having a store there could make traffic even more dangerous.

Dollar General could “change our community and alter it permanently,” Woodie said.

Jay Patel, who owns the Shop & Save convenience store near the property, said that the retail chain’s presence would hurt his business. “I’ve got kids and family that I need to feed,” he said. “If a Dollar General do come there, I’ll fight as much as I can.”

Among those who favor allowing the store, Morton Smith of Dug Hill Road said that elderly people who live in that area currently have to drive more than 10 miles simply to get most of their groceries, so having a Dollar General would be helpful to them.

The commissioners honed in on the fact that The Broadway Group asked to rezone more than 28 acres to retail business use, but only two acres would be used for the store.

Commissioner Randy Church said more detailed information is needed on The Broadway Group’s plans.

“I’m just wondering if we got the cart before the horse on this again, and we’re being asked to make a ruling on something that’s just not clearly laid out for us,” he said.

The commissioners sent the plan back to the Caldwell County Planning Board for further discussion.

In other business, the commissioners approved a special use permit to put a 191-foot cellphone tower in a wooded area near Greasy Creek Road.

Attorney Karen Kemerait of Fox Rothschild, representing CitySwitch LLC, said that the tower may be used by AT&T, three other carriers and the First Responder Network Authority, providing broadband coverage to fire, medical and law enforcement agencies.

Cora Jones, the property owner, provided the commissioners with a petition of support with the signatures of 116 residents. She said that there is poor cellphone signal coverage in the area, so the tower is needed.

“You can’t get (a phone call) out from there unless you’re standing on one foot with your nose up in the air or some such,” she said.

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