McDONOUGH – The Henry County Board of Commissioners has directed county staff to produce an ordinance that would put a limit of some sort on “small-box ‘discount’ stores” in the county.
The stores, defined by the county as dollar stores, “not as large as a Wamart or a Target,” that have popped up around the county and have occasionally popped up close together and have, in the words of some commissioners, “inundated” the county.
The move was presented as a way to protect the property values of county residents who move in to a new neighborhood, but may have their property value impacted by the construction of a dollar store.
It was suggested that such an ordinance could be similar to an ordinance passed several years ago to prevent pawn shops from popping up around the county.
“Maybe we should do the same that we did for pawn shops,” said Bruce Holmes, who represents the northern district 5 on the Board of Commissioners.
County Manager Cheri Hobson-Matthews said in the meeting that the ordinance was based on population size, and since the approval of that ordinance, the county has not permitted any new pawn shops as it is at its limit.
Stacey Jordan-Rudesal, chief planner for the county, said the county limits pawn shops to one per 21,182 people, and pawn shops are not allowed within 1,000 feet of a similar use.
“We may need to look at something similar for miles for dollar stores,” Jordan-Rudesal said.
Dee Clemmons, who represents the southwest District 2 in the county, said the dollar stores have hurt the county’s property values and as a result, have prevented higher-end businesses from opening up in Henry County.
“It’s very hard when constituents ask why we don’t have a Whole Foods or a Pappadeaux,” Clemmons said. “It’s based on economics, the amount of money we’re reporting on taxes. These companies in the low-income areas are inundating the area and preventing us from getting these businesses.”
Clemmons said such a move restricting dollar stores “isn’t wrong” and the timing was “right” to make such a move.
“They don’t need to be in our community,” she said. “We’ve had enough.”
“We’re approving subdivisions with $300,000-400,000 homes,” said Vivian Thomas, who represents the northeast District 4 on the commission. “They don’t want these type of businesses popping up next door.”