Opposition Grows Surrounding Proposed Inlet Beach Dollar General - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Opposition Grows Surrounding Proposed Inlet Beach Dollar General Store

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Opposition grows surrounding a potential South Walton development that some residents feel doesn't fit in. Now, a petition against the project is drawing hundreds of signatures.

On one hand you have residents of historic Inlet Beach who are fighting to keep the scenic corridor, well, scenic. On the other hand is a proposed Dollar General store that they feel could be an eyesore and much more.

"I'm not sure the Dollar General really falls into the category," said homeowner Larry Brocato about a category of acceptable neighborhood use.

The five year Inlet Beach resident serves as president of the Historic South Inlet Beach Association and he's been fighting the proposed development since they signs went up.

"I think as the county looked at this plan, they looked at it from the commercial zoning and not necessarily the inlet beach neighborhood plan," said Brocato.

The store would sit on the Northwest corner of Highway 98 and Walton Lakeshore Drive; an inconvenient spot, he said, because there's no way to turn left out of this site.

"People are going to go out of this site, go north on Walton Lakeshore, go through the Grand Pointe neighborhood and come back out on 98," said Brocato.

That safety concern is coupled with aesthetic concerns of putting a chain store in their historic community.

"Get in your car and drive around. Within a three mile radius you'll see what the architecture is," he said.

Just a mile down the road, over the Bay County line, you've got a major hub for shopping, including a Winn Dixie and a CVS in one parking lot, a Publix across the street

If you continue driving down Highway 98, just about 5 miles, is another Dollar General; calling to question whether one at inlet beach is actually needed.

"It's subjective. It would be very hard to determine that," said Brocato

It's not stopping them from trying; meeting just prior to our interview with a design team from Dollar General corporate.

"The Dollar General that we see today at 9100 square feet isn't a neighborhood use or scale," said Brocato.

News 13 received a statement from Dollar General on Tuesday, stating:

"As you know this parcel of land where our proposed store will be located is commercially zoned. Dollar general has worked diligently to comply with local codes in inlet beach and accommodate reasonable concerns."