Pine Protests Drive Off Store

Several area residents braved the afternoon heat at the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall to share concerns about the Dollar General store proposed for construction at the southeast entry to the town.

Several area residents braved the afternoon heat at the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall to share concerns about the Dollar General store proposed for construction at the southeast entry to the town. Photo by Max Foster.

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Plans to build a Dollar General store off Highway 87 in Pine have been scrapped after Southwest General Develop­ment Managing Partner Beau Woodring withdrew his request to rezone the property.

Woodring apparently had second thoughts about building the store after listening to residents voice their opposition during a Gila County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Wednesday in Pine.

“He realized we don’t want a dollar store in Pine,” said Christy Powers, a longtime Pine resident.

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 turned out for the meeting held in the cultural center.

The property is currently zoned both residential and transitional residential, but Woodring wanted to rezone the property to commercial.

Throughout the meeting, one adamant audience member after another said they didn’t want a dollar store in the tiny mountain hamlet.

In fact, some said they would boycott any such store.

Almost all residents who spoke said they opposed allowing any “big box” or “chain” store in Pine.

Ric Hawthorne told the commission, “We don’t need any more empty buildings” apparently refer­ring to the now vacant Dollar General store in Payson that closed after just two years and some vacancies in Pine.

Others expressed concern such a store at the southern entrance of Pine would clash with the small-town image of Pine.

Each time a resident spoke against the store and rezoning, the audience loudly applauded.

Chris Walsh of the Rim Country Business Coalition asked the commission to reject the rezoning and impose a six-month moratorium on the proposal.

Later in the meeting, Walsh gave the board a petition signed by 504 Pine and Strawberry residents asking the county to deny the rezoning request.

After Woodring withdrew his request, Walsh lauded the move, “That was the smart thing to do, he showed respect to the community.

“This thing could have dragged out.”

Powers praised those who had opposed the rezoning saying, “It was a rather wonderful testament to the desire of the residents here to keep our little community as it is.”

The planning and zoning commission two months ago recommended approval of the rezoning with several stipulations.

When word the commission had recommended approval circulated through Pine and Strawberry, residents showed up June 3 at a Gila County Board of Supervisors meeting with a barrage of complaints.

Those objections convinced the supervisors to delay action on the rezoning request and hold Wednesday’s public hearing.

Comments

Robbin Flowers 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Didn't they all ready close a dollar type store in Payson a few years back. Isn't that one of those box store type buildings still sitting empty on Hwy 87?

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Pat Randall 5 months, 3 weeks ago

It's a shame there was not a moratorium put on building in Pine 40 yrs ago, then it really would be the quaint little town you all claim it to be. You got yours but don't want anyone else to move in. I would rather see a Dollar Store than a lit up bar as I drive into a little town. Just my opinion. The Sidewinder attracts more dangerous traffic and tourist than a store would, but to each his own I guess. No one wants to drive to Payson to buy their alcohol.

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Kim Chittick 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hmmm, guess I feel differently. Sidewinders was built in such a manner that it blends in with it's surroundings; they have great food, are locally owned (I believe??), are going more in the direction of a restaurant which serves alcohol, rather than a bar which serves food, and offer up something the community needs. Payson now has 2 "dollar" and "dollar type" stores. When the company built the Dollar General on Beeline Highway, I was a bit dismayed. And my dismay was well founded, as it was no time at all before it was just an empty building sitting atop a hill. This, to me, is indicative of a company which bails out when the going gets rough, with no concern whatsoever for the decimation that their coming to town wreaked on the small mom and pop stores.

As for buying their alcohol in Payson, I am fairly certain that Sidewinders is not the only place in Pine to buy alcohol.

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new store in Pine by kleneberg 5 months, 3 weeks ago

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