Letter to the Editor: Deny Dollar General, Preserve Egg Harbor’s Character

Allowing Dollar General to build in Egg Harbor will set a low standard for commercial development along the Highway 42 corridor. Historically, the town’s plan commission and board have upheld town building codes, setbacks and property-use restrictions and rarely granted variances to them. We hope they will hold to the same conservative view of architectural standards as they review the Dollar General proposal.

The town’s architectural control ordinance states that a proposed structure must conform to the general development and character of the area as established by the town’s comprehensive plan. Dollar General’s structure clearly doesn’t.  

The comprehensive plan emphasizes clustering commercial development to avoid scattering commercial buildings across the town. It seeks to protect the town’s rural nature, scenic beauty and environment. The proposed site is isolated from other retail establishments and is not clustered with similar businesses. A “mini Walmart,” with its security lighting and parking lot, certainly does not conform to the character of the immediate neighborhood. The building would be totally out of place at that rural intersection because it would be surrounded by private residences, a rural cemetery, green space and fun park. 

A commercial building of this design does not conform as required to the general development of the area – in this case a tourist destination – especially in light of the highway’s recent designation as one of three National Scenic Byways in Wisconsin. Dollar General stores are not scenic attractions. 

Finally, the ordinances require that the appeal and functional plan of a new building blend with nearby structures or the character of the town and not hurt nearby property values. The Dollar General building, security lighting, parking lot, customer traffic and long hours – seven days a week, year-round – will certainly negatively impact property values for owners of nearby residences and vacant lots.

We hope the town denies the permit, considers a temporary moratorium on development along Highway 42 and creates a new development plan with enforcement ordinances for the corridor that supports the goals of our existing 20-year comprehensive plan.

Bill  Freyman

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin