Commissioners approved zoning requests for two Dollar General stores Thursday after debate on the need of turning lanes and who should pay for them.
Commissioner Joe Frank Jernigan amended the zoning request for a proposed Dollar General Store on Epps Mill Road with a requirement for a turning lane and warned his fellows commissioners that safety should come first.
"I don't know how many (of) you been out there, but it's one of the most dangerous roads out here,” he said. “When you put that store in there and all that traffic, if we approve something like this on this narrow road, we ought to be responsible when someone gets hurt."
Commissioner Robert Peay pointed out the choice before commissioners is between making the tax payers pay for a turning lane or the business pay for it.
"We're going to have to expand that road, and when we do the county taxpayers are the one's doing the expanding," Peay said. "Right now we have the opportunity to let the person causing the traffic pay for this."
Making the business pay for a turning lane didn't sit well with Commissioner Robert Stevens who viewed the amendment as something that would scare away business from the county.
"I don't think it's right to require them to do this," Stevens said. "We want businesses to come here, and if we have this chilling effect where we add these subjective requirements we're going to run businesses off."
Commissioner Steve Sandlin praised Dollar General's building and growth within the county, but said commissioner aren't paying attention to uncounted traffic increases that will come with the construction of a truck stop at the same location.
"We've got to look after them on traffic is concerned,” Sandlin said. “I think with the numbers of truck stop coming in there it really does a spin on the traffic flow. I'm going to have to support the commissioner on the turning lane."
Zoning passed 16-5 to allow Dollar General to build with Commissioners Tiffany Jones, Brad Turner, Rhonda Allen, Robert Stevens and Jeff Phillips all voting against the new construction.
Commissioners also approved zoning for another Dollar General on Coleman Rd. right off John Bragg Highway.
Commissioner Peay tried to amend zoning to ban alcohol sales and require trucks enter the business from John Bragg Highway. The amendment failed, and the store was approved.