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Approve the permit

We think supervisors in Prince Edward County would be right to approve a special use permit for the construction and operation of a Dollar General store at the intersection of Rice’s Depot Road and Route 460 in Rice.

The project would add to the county’s tax base, bring much-needed jobs to the community and give convenience to those who live in the area and in eastern Prince Edward.

Conditions on the permit include a sign indicating no right-hand turns for 18-wheeler trucks, buffering of neighboring residential areas with Leyland Cyprus trees and a six-foot privacy fence, the addition of a brick front and adding an extended right-turn lane into the store’s parking lot — all of which would protect neighbors and those who travel by the store.

A petition of nearly 300 supporters of the permit was recently presented to county planners. During a public hearing before them, seven people spoke — six of whom were opposed to the store being located at the intersection, which many call dangerous, citing the proximity to the troubled Route 307 intersection with 460.

Here’s the thing about that. That intersection, which is dangerous, is set to undergo a $2.74 million reconfiguration that will result in a much safer traffic pattern. Through its SMART SCALE funding process, the Commonwealth Transportation Board has the project termed as in its “development stages.”

The project — which includes a right-hand turn lane from Route 307 to westbound Route 460 — could begin as soon as early 2020, according to the SMART SCALE website.

Those who live in Rice near Route 460 should expect more small-scale commercial operations like this in the future as the community is termed a “village center” in the county’s comprehensive plan, one that sets the vision for land use for Prince Edward.

“These village center areas are a suitable location for a mixture of small-scale commercial and low-density or medium-density residential land uses,” the plan reads.