We dont have to sit, watch Tryons character erode

Published 5:35 pm Monday, August 2, 2010

To the Editor:

After careful consideration, I purchased my first home this past fall. Tryon was the only area that met my expectations of a great place to live, and actually exceeded it.

I accepted that I would need to commute to my job, but the amenities of the town made up for that sacrifice. I knew that I could find a house within walking distance of restaurants and stores that met all of my daily needs. I knew there were friendly people here, art and music, forested parks, all within a community that had demonstrated care for its history and future.

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One other thing that stood out about Tryon, above and beyond all of the other local towns in the area, was its unique character.

In my lifetime, I have seen Walmart take over strawberry fields, golden arches dot the landscape in place of trees, Lowes move in and local hardware stores move out. A great appeal of Tryon is the variety of locally owned businesses. How refreshing in a country littered with franchises.

I do not wish to live my life surrounded by generic business models that do little for me and less for their employees; thats why I moved here. I want a little character in my evenings dining out, watching movies, and generally in how I experience my community. I was afforded that opportunity when I moved to Tryon.

However, with the construction of the Dollar General beside the historic log cabin once known as Sunnydale, I realized that Tryons unique character is not attributed to zoning ordinances, like formula business ordinances that prevent, limit, or modify chain retailers activity within a whole city/town or within sections or zones of the area.

Even with the changes that were issued by the Tryon Board of Planning and Adjustment to the standard Dollar General building design, the close placement of the store will tarnish a building with cultural and historic significance. &bsp;

I am uncertain how the log cabin escapes the distinction of being a protected building under the zoning ordinance of the Town of Tryon. According to Polk County property card for 334 S. Trade Street, the cabin was constructed in 1930, a date that places the building well over the 50 years of age mark as specified in section in 2.2.6.

Clearly, the construction of the Dollar General on the subdivided lot violates the spirit of the Historic Preservation Commission Ordinance that states, the historical, cultural and aesthetic heritage of the municipality is among one of its most valued and important assets and that the preservation of this heritage is essential to the promotion of the health, prosperity and general welfare of the people.

And honestly, I believe that the subdivision shows blatant disregard for the definition under section 34.42 from this ordinance of Exterior Environmental Features that covers all aspects of the landscape or the development of a site which affect the historic character of the property when considering historic sites.

I will no longer be able to see the cabin without a glare from the garish Dollar General sign and the faade of the cheap modern building tainting my view. I have to wonder if perhaps it is only luck that has kept McDonalds or Walmart out so far, luck that I-26 didnt run through this pass.

I understand that I have voiced my concern too late in the case with Dollar General, as too much damage has already been done. &bsp;

However, this is a plea to the community of Tryon, my chosen community, to help prevent future affronts to the uniqueness of our town. At the least, please think about why you live in this area and what you will lose if the historic character of the town continually declines. Think about where you will be without the individual contributions of our locally owned and designed businesses. We really have so much for such a small town. &bsp;

But we dont have to sit back and watch our towns character erode. The construction of the Dollar General was a rude awakening for me and I now understand the importance of being involved in my community, instead of simply enjoying it. I plan to figure out how I can serve my community, to help maintain what drew me to the area, instead of just benefiting from the opportunities afforded to me here. &bsp;

Anyone else?

&bsp; Meghan Johnson