by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Neighbors in a DeKalb County community say a zoning technicality kept them in the dark about a new Family Dollar store going up at the entrance of their neighborhood.
"It was a pretty big tear down. It was a lot," neighbor Jackie Costello told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri about her surprise when crews tore down trees on Custer Avenue across from the Parkside Walk subdivision.
She and other neighbors said they were unaware of plans to build a Family Dollar at the location. There are already three stores within two miles of the neighborhood.
Costello said she doesn't have a problem with Family Dollar but was disappointed to see so many trees taken down.
"It kind of takes away from that feel a little bit," Costello explained. "Just because there's nothing between the residential area and then the store."
Family Dollar spokesman Bryn Winburn said the new store will replace an existing store in the Moreland Plaza on Moreland Avenue.
Winburn explained in a statement, "As this property was already zoned for commercial use, the county does not require or hold a special meeting for the public."
DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said the property owner would only have to apply for a building permit and in this case, the board of commissioners learned of the construction after hearing from neighbors.
Brennan told Viteri commissioners are now looking into a system that would alert them to who is applying for permits.
Neighbor Khashy Sheibani said he's worried the quiet street will see more traffic and decided to put in a fence as a precaution.
"If there is increased foot traffic there's going to be extra people potentially cutting through the neighborhood," Sheibani explained. "So just as, you know, safety."
Brennan said the idea is not to stifle economic growth in the county but to ensure the community has a variety of businesses under the zoning application.
Wilburn said they are always open to feedback from the community, including in the case of this new store.