County OKs Freetown Dollar General Store

The developer of the newest Dollar General Store in Jackson County received final county approval for that project Tuesday night.

That means construction on the 10,640-square-foot store on the northeast corner of State Road 135 and Main Street (State Road 58) in Freetown will begin in early to midsummer.

The Jackson County Board of Zoning Appeals approved the request for a special exception by Dollar General to operate the store in an area zoned residential during a meeting Tuesday night at the courthouse annex.

Two people spoke against that request, which was presented by developer Curt Rafferty of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Amy Underhill, who lives on property on the south side of Main Street just south of the store, said she had concerns about the store drawing attention from her 11-year-old son, who has autism.

She said she was worried her son might be lured across the street to the store without her knowledge. Underhill also said she had concerns about the value of her property decreasing and additional concerns about some of the people who might be drawn to the store.

Although she said she could understand the need for a store in Freetown, she was worried about the effect it would have on her and her son.

Laura Edwards said she and her husband, Denver, were worried the store might force their store, Denny’s Grocery, out of business. The store has been serving the community since 1964, she said.

Plan Commissioner Conner Barnette told the five-member board it was not their job to determine if a project would have a detrimental effect on another business.

Barnette also read a letter from Freetown resident and businessman Russell Fritz, who supported the project and wrote it would be an asset to the community.

Project engineer Will McDonough with Corydon-based Paul Primavera and Associates said the store has to be ready to turn over to the Dollar General Store company by November, but it could be completed sooner. Construction typically takes 16 weeks, but it can be must faster with good weather.

He said the only entrance to the store will be off of State Road 135. The cut for that driveway requires state approval.

McDonough said he and Rafferty have completed about 70 Dollar General Stores in southern Indiana over the past 15 years. Once a store is completed, it is leased to Dollar General.

The board voted 4-1 to approve the project with board member Don Cummings casting the no vote.

Cummings said while he thought the store would benefit Freetown, he thought it should be built at a different location because the proposed location was tight.

The store will be built on 0.951 acres, which contains six lots. Two adjacent lots on the north side of the property are vacant. The south side of the building will face Underhill’s property.

Any stormwater issues are going to be addressed with an underground storage basin beneath the parking lot of the store. That parking lot will contain 31 spots.

Water stored in that basin will be released gradually into a culvert that runs southwest beneath State Road 135 into a nearby ditch so runoff is not increased from the property.

McDonough said there were be no pole lighting, but there will be a lighted sign on a 16-foot pole, and there is typically just one light on the back of stores. A 6-foot privacy fence will be built on the north side of the property.

Board member Mike Reynolds said he thought the project would be an improvement for the community, while board member Seth Pollert said he thought the developers had done a thorough job of putting the project together. Board member Travis Norman said he thought the developer’s plans for drainage at a spot that once stood in water after rain would be doing the community a favor.