To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Shame on the craven members of the Sheffield Zoning Board of Appeals and the Board of Selectmen who are surrendering to Dollar General after a minor victory in Land Court on Sept. 10.
My husband and I recently visited Chester, Vt., where the town has successfully held Dollar General at bay for over two years, while our leaders gave in after a matter of months. ZBA Chairman Bart Elsbach’s statement that his "primary concern is the safety of our citizens" is admirable, but this is not entirely what this is about. This is about preserving the historic beauty of our town. This is about neighbors having to look at bright lights shining until 11 at night. This is about the death knell of Silk’s, PJ’s Convenience Store, DeVries Hardware and other local businesses. Has anyone asked them how they feel about this?
Could the Board of Selectmen not be bothered to wait until a Town Meeting to discuss funding a lawsuit? Could they not wait until the next court hearing in December? Those of us who deplore the construction of a Dollar General in our town do not want a "modified" structure; we want it not to exist at all. And, for those who think they will be saving money shopping there, I’m told by opponents in Chester that Dollar General’s "lower prices" are in some cases achieved by smaller product containers, manufactured just for them, so their stores are, in fact, not cheaper than local supermarkets. Dollar stores of any kind belong in strip malls, not in the center of historic, colonial towns.
If this one comes to fruition, I, for one, will never set foot in it. And even if it fails and goes out of business, the damage will have been done, leaving a permanent eyesore behind. Negotiation with litigious tyrants is not an option.