Mount Airy officials took action Thursday night to aid a new Holly Springs location of Dollar General, which will hire about 10 employees.
The city Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the voluntary annexation of a 1.2-acre site at 123 Airport Road as requested by Venture Properties, a Wilkesboro firm that owns the property and is developing the Dollar General store there.
This will allow the business to receive municipal utility service. Under Mount Airy’s policy, a commercial entity may connect to the water service without annexation, but receiving sewer service requires it to petition for voluntary annexation into the city.
Venture Properties had asked for a waiver of the annexation requirement earlier this year, which the commissioners denied in February.
That led the firm to seek the voluntary annexation. Although it involves satellite annexation, since the property does not adjoin the present city limits, Planning Director Andy Goodall says the lot is accessible to the water and sewer system. And it can be serviced by the Mount Airy Fire Department similar to other nearby areas that are in the city limits, Goodall said.
Thursday’s action also designates the zoning of the store property, located on the corner of Airport and Holly Springs roads, as B-4, the city’s Highway Business zone.
It came after a public hearing in which the only person who spoke was Shea Davis, a project partner with Venture Properties.
“First, I’d like to apologize for not being at the last meeting,” Davis said, blaming that on a scheduling conflict and saying this reflected no disrespect toward Mount Airy officials.
When the annexation waiver was denied in February, that absence was cited as a concern among the commissioners, since no one from Venture Properties was there to justify the request by citing the number of jobs to be created or other mitigating factors.
Davis said during Thursday’s public hearing that the Dollar General store will be good for the community.
Commissioner Dean Brown asked about the number of jobs to result, and was told that the store will employ about three people full-time and eight or so part-time workers, but this will depend on the amount of business it generates.
The store building is nearly ready for occupancy, with Davis disclosing that his firm will turn it over to Dollar General on April 30. “They will take about a week to stock (it),” before the business actually opens.
City officials seemed generally pleased Thursday night with the addition to the local business community.
“I’m really excited with Dollar General coming in,” Commissioner Jim Armbrister said.
“I want to welcome you guys to the city,” Commissioner Jon Cawley told Davis.
Also Thursday night, the commissioners voted unanimously to award a $239,645 contract to Adams Construction Co. to resurface eight local streets at the northern end of town, as well as the driveways of F.G. Doggett Water Plant.
The streets are Cross Creek Drive, Burgundy Road, Bobby Lane, Myers Drive, Ellis Acres Lane, Salem Drive, School Street and Scalestone Lane, most of which are located off Wards Gap Road.
City Public Works Director Jeff Boyles said the city’s 2016 resurfacing project constitutes Phase I of a multi-year plan covering about six years.
The eight streets come under a Powell Bill program in which money is allocated by the state government for maintenance of roadways that are part of the city system. The appropriation for this year’s work is $200,000, with Boyles mentioning that city crews will handle structural adjustments of facilities such as manholes to reduce the cost and get it under that figure while also allowing some funding to cover any unexpected expenses.
Resurfacing the driveways at the water plant located in the Laurel Bluff area will be separate from the streets to be repaved under the Powell Bill program, “which hasn’t been done since it was built 46 years ago,” Boyles said of the plant.
“We’re hoping to have it done by the end of June,” he said of all the resurfacing covered in the contract with Adams Construction Co., which also does work for the N.C. Department of Transportation.
“We are kind of a small player, but we hope Adams can work us in,” Boyles added.
The commissioners also voted Thursday night to close an unopened street space (or easement) for Barber Street and a portion of that street, after no one opposed the move during a public hearing.
Although an easement long existed for a portion of Barber Street to be constructed, that never occurred, and a section which was built and once used had been closed years ago when Renfro Corp. owned an industrial facility there.
The closure was requested by Gene Clark of Barber Street Investments on South Main Street, who owns and has his office on the property involved.
Clark has described the closure as officially taking the street off the city’s system and otherwise cleaning up the books.
The site closed, covering a total area of 22,000 square feet, contains no public utilities and there are no plans to construct a new street there.
In addition, the street serves as an access point to Clark’s property only and doesn’t affect any other business, a member of the city planning staff pointed out Thursday night.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.