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Acton residents reject Dollar General store - Printable Version

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Acton residents reject Dollar General store - ACTON - 12-04-2015 11:41 AM

APRIL 12 205
Acton residents reject Dollar General store

Julie Drake

ACTON - Residents gave the prospect of a Dollar General store moving into their community an unequivocal thumbs down at Monday's Acton Town Council meeting calling the proposed store a "cancer" and saying they don't want it.

The Tennessee-based "small box" discount retailer, which has 12,000 stores in 43 states, including locations in California City, Lake Los Angeles, Littlerock and Palmdale, seeks to place a 9,100-square-foot store on Crown Valley Road across the street from Acton Market Country Store and The Original Acton Market on Smith Avenue.

Joshua Simon of Arizona-based developer Simon CRE, a preferred developer for Dollar General in California and Arizona, gave a presentation at the meeting to inform the community about the company's plans to open the store.

"The product differentiation between a Dollar General and your Acton Market is huge," Simon said, adding that Dollar General does not sell fruit, vegetables or meat.

As Simon showed pictures of the items Dollar General does sell such as laundry detergent and beauty and health items, Mike Hannoun, who owns the Acton Market Country Store, said he carries the same items.

The proposed store's hours would likely be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Simon noted that Dollar General would use softer exterior sign lighting on the building and softer lighting in the parking lot, too.

Simon said if the community does not want the store to sell beer and wine, Dollar General won't apply for a permit to sell it. The company would also limit the store's delivery hours.

"As far as location goes we're not requesting to be out on the highway; we want to be down in the kind of downtown core," Simon said.

Simon also touted increased sales and property tax revenues although that would go to the county and not Acton.

The proposed store would also add 10 to 12 new permanent jobs that would pay above minimum wage, Simon said.

But Hannoun said those jobs would likely come from his store because he would have to lay people off should Dollar General take his business.

Town Council President Christopher Croisdale said the stores in Acton are owned by local people so it's personal to them.

"Options aren't as important as the personal relationships we have," Croisdale said.

One member of the audience asked why Dollar General wants to open a store in Acton, and how they determined it would be a good location for sales.

Simon said they are not privy to all of the details but noted there is a lot of money in the general merchandise category that is leaving Acton and being spent elsewhere.

But the audience member said the money spent at a Dollar General store would still leave the area.

"We'd like to keep these personal relationships with the store owners here in town," he said.

He added he knows he spends more at the local store and he doesn't mind because he knows the people who own it.

"My feeling is, and I don't want to speak for everybody else, but we don't need this type of box store in our community," he said.

Resident Kathleen Trinity agreed.

"It leads me to think that this is going to be drawing people from Palmdale and other places and we're going to have a lot of traffic," Trinity said.

Simon said the typical Dollar General needs about 1,200 households.

Another resident said the community doesn't need a Dollar General in Acton, noting there is a Dollar General about 15 minutes away.

Residents also raised concerns about traffic on the roads near the proposed store.

Town Council member Pam Wolter asked why the company opened stores in Lake Los Angeles and Littlerock near existing stores that sell similar merchandise.

"I'm a little appalled that you want to come in to our community, and I'm speaking for myself, that we've got two grocery stores in the downtown area and you're going to bring another, even though you don't carry what they carry," Wolter said. "It just seems unnecessary to me, and I'm continuing to watch to see what it does to the community of Lake L.A."

Council member Michael Hughes said the Town Council serves in an advisory role to relay the community's feelings and positions to developers and different agencies that come to town. It has also worked hard to preserve the community's rural character.

"If a property is zoned for a certain business and that business is allowed on that property we cannot as a council necessarily say you can't be there," Hughes said.

However, he added the council works in concert with the community.

"The one thing I would advise you is this community, as a community, is fierce and very vocal," Hughes said.

While he praised Simon's presentation, Hughes noted that any company that thinks it can come in and put something in the center of town or anywhere else above the protests of community members "is sadly wrong."

"This town will rise up against them on pure emotion if nothing else to keep it the way they want to keep it," Hughes said.