‘Why is the tail wagging the dog?’

Published 12:25 pm Thursday, February 9, 2017

Why would you want the first thing that greets most people to Prince Edward County to be a Dollar General store? 

If the Prince Edward Planning Commission and the board of supervisors allow Par 3 Development to build at the corner of Route 460 and Rice’s Depot Road, that is exactly what will welcome visitors to our area.

Our biggest concern is the safety of that area. That stretch of Route 460 has already been identified as one of the worst areas in Prince Edward for accidents.

The board of supervisors has stated that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will be working on the area by 2020, but they haven’t determined exactly what will be accomplished. On that curve, you have limited sight, and yet they want to add more congestion to an area that has exceeded what the planning commission considers the threshold for accidents?

A traffic impact analysis was requested from VDOT, which would provide details for projects that would substantially affect transportation on a state highway.

VDOT refused to do a traffic impact analysis, but not because the area was safe, but simply on the grounds that VDOT only does traffic studies on places that exceed a specific number of visitors per hour. 

They aren’t claiming that there isn’t a problem, it’s just that they don’t do studies unless there are 5,000 vehicle trips per day. The projected traffic is roughly 538 vehicles a day. Instead, what was sent to the board was a study completed by the engineers hired by Dollar General. Isn’t that a little suspect?

Why do we need a Dollar General in Rice? There is a Dollar General just eight miles away in Burkeville, and another Dollar General is eight miles in the opposite direction in Farmville. 

Is it because we don’t have a general store? No, we do have one. It’s called Jenkins Blue and Gray just one block from the proposed site of the Dollar General.

The proposed site is directly in front of a working farm and right next to a home. Its neighbor across Rice’s Depot Road is the fire department. These locations would be greatly impacted by the traffic, the noise and light pollution of this store. 

I am simply asking the planning commission and the board of supervisors to do their jobs, to think about the future as they have cited in their Comprehensive Plan of our county. 

I am asking that we not put the cart before the horse, to address the traffic problem at that area of Route 460, not exacerbate it. 

There are many other undeveloped straightaways on Route 460 that could accommodate this business rather than at a dangerous curve. Why is the tail wagging the dog?

Lorraine Pohl lives on Rice’s Depot Road. Her email address is lorrainepohl@yahoo.com.