In response to an outcry from the community, developers for Dollar General Stores met with several home owners from the Inlet Beach community last week to try to address concerns.
According to a mass email sent out from community leaders, Dollar General developers have extended an olive branch and agreed to make some minor modifications to the store they are proposing to build.
The main modification developers have agreed to make is the addition of a tower to the top of the building to lend a beachy appearance.
Community leaders were also reportedly told that the North Walton Lakeshore access is a must for the store to go in — both for customers coming from the west so they do not have to U-turn, but also for a delivery truck to access the store. This entrance/exit is a big concern of many in the community who feel their roads can not handle more traffic and it also provides the shortest way into Bay County.
The developers were unwilling to decrease the size of the store to more of a neighborhood feel, however.
Todd Rice owns a house in the neighborhood of Grand Point, which is in Inlet Beach. He presently lives there part time but is on a three-year plan to relocate there full time.
"That area is a gateway to 30A," said Rice."That intersection is already scary and the whole area is vulnerable. Some (nice) neighborhoods have built up there and Dollar General is a negative. You want businesses that are unique to the area that do not deter positive growth."
Rice is currently based in Virginia, where he owns and operates a web developing company. He has owned the property in Inlet Beach for approximately 2 and a half years.
"We walk that way to the beach and there is so much traffic. The community should have a bigger say in what businesses go in. The area could compliment Rosemary Beach and the feel of the area," said Rice.
Walton County's Design Review Board meets this Thursday at 5 p.m., and next Thursday (Sept. 12) the Planning Commission meets at the South Walton Annex.
Neighborhood spokesmen said people need to show up and speak.
The community's digital petition is showing just under 500 signatures against Dollar General building in Inlet Beach.
See the petition at www.change.org/petitions/walton-county-board-of-county-commissioners-do-not-allow-dollar-general-in-inlet-beach.