Dollar General bad for Springville

Editor,

Commercial development in the foothills, for agricultural, environmental, aesthetic and economic reasons should be confined to already-existing clusters and ought to follow the County General Plan, not be granted waivers, variances or work-arounds. 

I’m opposed to the current plan to build a Dollar General store outside of the Springville Urban Boundary.

I speak as a 30-year resident of Tulare County, former Springville Chamber of Commerce President and current Springville business owner and rancher. 

Sadly, Springville has a history of failed businesses. To break raw agricultural and native soil when unrented commercial space exists downtown and the most-likely patrons of Dollar General live downtown, is inefficient and has negative impacts on the view, watershed, agriculture and air quality. Once dozed and paved, this venture will not return to open space when it fails, as it is likely to do.

It is proposed on a State Highway that is eligible for Scenic status. It is proposed on what the Springville Chamber calls, “The Gateway to the Giant Sequoia National Monument.”  

It is opposed by virtually all local residents who have commented or appeared in person. To quote from the Tulare County General Plan Background Report, “Most travelers only know the communities of a scenic corridor from what they see from the highway. 

The place to do that is in downtown Springville, not in the open space viewshed.

There is a fully-functional grocery store, Gifford’s Market, that has been serving Springville since 1948 - 70 years! It carries both “convenience” items as well as traditional groceries and fresh produce, fresh meat, freshly-prepared foods to-go. And they sell gas and support a baseball team.

I doubt Dollar General will compete with this. Gifford’s owners carry citizens from check-to-check by extending credit— something that is a daily fact of life for the officially-designated Disadvantaged Community (DAC) that downtown Springville is.

Less than two miles from the proposed project, Eagle Feather already provides multiple items that duplicate Dollar General’s convenience inventory.

Reading the online reviews of Dollar General nationwide, it becomes clear from both the customer and employee perspectives that this project will not generate significant employment; apparently, Dollar General is called out for understaffing and overworking a very few employees.

Who will be the customers in what the County plan defines should be a market for local residents? Not the most likely users— the low-income residents of downtown who already have a market they support. 

Surely not the convenience seekers who ‘run in’ while gassing up. Unlikely the wealthy homeowners of the Globe Drive, Montgomery Ranch, River Island, River Island East and Campbell Creek areas. The County plan provides for satellite commercial centers designed for local residents. So, who would use the proposed store? It is unlikely that visitors and tourists will stop at a location that is on the ‘wrong side of the road’ and in a 55-mph speed zone which traffic routinely exceeds.

Let Dollar General explore the existing market/gas station property in downtown where, when it fails, as I’m sorry to say it likely will, at least it won’t have sacrificed the land uses that can never be replaced. 

If the existing space doesn’t fit, then neither does Dollar General. Why wear the shoe, if it’s the wrong shoe. Get another shoe! 

I am opposed to this project in its proposed location. I would be opposed to other similar offerings at this location as well. The County’s zones are designed to protect particular natural or cultural features, such as historical districts, scenic views, agricultural areas, or watersheds. Not to grant exceptions when they make no sense to folks who live there.

Gary Adest

Springville

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