Dollar General Has Deerfield Riled Up

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This is a rural intersection, with no chain stores anywhere in site. Deerfield's citizens are fighting this development hard.
This is a rural intersection, with no chain stores anywhere in site. Deerfield’s citizens are fighting this development hard.

Our town has been energized over the past few months, because of development that suddenly seems to be pushing the limits of the townspeople.  First, the big development on Sugarloaf Street was approved, after pretty much token opposition. Nobody could really do much because it was following the town’s master plan, that calls for over 55 housing and cluster development.

This used to be woods. Route 5&10, at the corner of Mill Village Road, South Deerfield.
This used to be woods. Route 5&10, at the corner of Mill Village Road, South Deerfield.

So Sugarloaf Estates, the new ‘no children’ condo project is moving ahead, as earthmovers carve out two new roads and trees get trucked to landfills after massive felling.

The edge of the new development expands right to the edge of the path that walkers use along the ridge of Sugarloaf Mountain, and you can see the bulldozers carving out the lots and removing hundreds of tree stumps. Progress never looks good while it’s happening.

While there were signs saying “Save Our Sugarloaf” placed around town, and some vociferous comments at the Planning Board hearing, there was no way to stop this well-planned out development, so it proceeded apace.

But there is a new threat in town that some people think is far worse–the Dollar General chain of small markets wants to build on Route 5, next to the Rock and Fossil shop.

Deerfield citizens packed town hall for the planning board meeting about Dollar General. All of the town officials agreed with the citizens against the plan except Henry Komosa who mocked the audience. "Why do they support a bakery but not this?" he asked.
Deerfield citizens packed town hall for the planning board meeting about Dollar General. All of the town officials agreed with the citizens against the plan except Henry Komosa who mocked the audience. “Why do they support a bakery but not this?” he asked.

First, we saw a massive clear-cut, trees ripped out, messy stumps left over, and a pile of brush and logs. People were first alerted to the landowner’s plans by a Facebook post from the owner of a local pizza shop. And then began the torrent of comments condemning the project.

READ  Town Meeting in Deerfield 2018

A big crowd packed the planning board meeting, and town officials, with the exception of Henry Komosa, Selectman, encouraged people to come to the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting for the final word.

I did a little reading about Dollar General and they are seriously on the move. They are all over Vermont and New Hampshire, sometimes they are the only store left standing in small towns where the local store went out of business. There are more than 25,000 dollar stores already in the US.

DG plans to open thousands of their small 8000 square foot stores in towns like Deerfield which lack any central supermarket. READ MORE ABOUT DOLLAR GENERAL

For years I’ve complained that there are no markets in our town.  But at the same time as the Dollar General seeks to bring a store to Route 5, a new locally-owned market is opening in the center of our village.  I don’t want a store full of cheap plastic junk from China.

The gist is that townspeople want to support Nikki Ciesluk’s new market but are very much against a chain store like Dollar General from coming here.