South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

Steep Canyon Rangers musician joins fight against build of Dollar General store
May 13th, 2020

By Kimberly King, WLOS

TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — Transylvania County residents are pushing back to stop a Dollar General even as construction starts.

A news conference was held Wednesday, May 13, 2020, morning to announce a lawsuit against the developer of the Dollar General store being built along Highway 276 just south of Brevard.

Opponents claim the construction will harm Elk Toe Mussels, a protected species.

Musician Woody Platt, of The Steep Canyon Rangers, has joined the fight along with the incoming vice mayor of Brevard.

PROTESTERS WANT TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY OFFICIALS TO REJECT DOLLAR GENERAL ON HIGHWAY 276

Residents in Transylvania County have been protesting to the retailer for months, stating that Dollar General already has six locations within a five-mile span in the county. Protesters, using the slogan, "No Dollar in the Holler," also said the proposed site is a flood risk.

On Wednesday, more than 50 people lined the two-lane road a few hundred yards from Highway 276, where the big box store is going up.

The group has hired an environmental attorney to officially file a letter of intent to sue the developer, Transylvania County and North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality.

The letter alleges all three have ignored a Federal law protecting an endangered species of Appalachian Elktoe mussels along Hogsed Creek that flows into the French Broad River. According to the notice, should construction continue, stormwater discharges during construction will harm the mussels population. The store is being built within a floodplain parcel of Hogsed Creek, but the developer has laid a foundation raising the site several inches above the plain.

“This would be an opportunity there to immediately move for an injunction to stop construction,” said environmental attorney Michael Corley, director of the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, a nonprofit public interest law firm.

However, Corley said all entities have two months to respond before the official lawsuit is filed in federal court. He said there is no way to file for an injunction to stop building during that time.

Builder Bob Broadway did not return News 13’s calls for comment.

“They’ve been working long hours,” said Christy Blakely, who helped found the opposition group. “Every time we do something, it seems, he (Broadway) speeds up his building plan.”

The group knows Broadway could have the building completed in two months, but members are holding out hope the lawsuit and potential injunction could keep the store from opening.

Transylvania County Attorney William Buffer said staff were reviewing the letter of intent to sue by the group, but he aid the county has limited authority to take action under the Floodplain Ordinance.

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