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A new Dollar General has opened its doors in Lafayette Township, despite residents fight to keep it out

Residents cite safety concerns now that the Dollar General is open
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Posted at 6:02 PM, Jan 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-13 19:13:31-05

MEDINA COUNTY — A new Dollar General opened in Lafayette Township after a six-month-long push from residents to stop the store from opening. Now, the doors are open but, for some, trust in township officials has dwindled.

Ali and Chase Burmeister have lived in Lafayette Township for eight years and up until July, they loved it.

It’s a small township in Medina County. Ali Burmeister said they liked the country-like quality with a convenient location to the city of Medina.

“It was just a perfect place to raise a family, safety, security, room to do whatever the kids wanted to do,” she said.

But in July, Lafayette Township Trustees sold a parcel of land, just steps away from Burmeister’s property, to Dollar General.

“When all of this came about, my husband and I dove straight into educating ourselves on our zoning code and our comprehensive plan,” she said.

News 5 first reported on the Burmeister’s fight in August. Ali started an online petition, with hundreds of signatures, to keep Dollar General out and there were yard signs scattered throughout the township to ‘Keep it Rural.’

RELATED: Lafayette Township Trustees approve site plans for proposed Dollar General Store despite residents’ concerns

At the time, township trustees told News 5 the area was zoned commercial, and there was nothing they could do about it. In the fall, a site plan from Dollar General was approved.

Burmeister filed an appeal citing zoning violations, specifically the lack of an architectural rendering, which is required in the township.

At an October township trustee meeting that first sight plan was vacated and another was approved, at the same meeting.

Resident Justin Peroli said the approval of the second site plan at the same meeting the first one was vacated made him pause.

“To me, this is another example of that the trustees have always stated that they were compassionate, they understood differing options within the township and they were trying to do everything they could, and here was an opportunity to let it all play out and instead, they intervened to expedite the process for Dollar General,” he said.

Dollar General opened before Christmas. Burmeister said she has the same safety concerns she’s had since the store was just a proposal.

“We can’t just send our kids out and go play. We have to keep an eye on them all the time. We don’t know who is pulling out of the parking lot and it’s not something we trust,” she said. “It’s constantly cars pulling in, pulling back out. It’s just constant headlights.”

She also cited traffic concerns on Lafayette Road.

“Right now, there are no markings over on the turning lane, so it’s extremely dangerous,” she said. “Traffic has increased. I worry there will be an accident.”

Chris O’Neil, a township trustee, said that he checked with the local police department and that there were no calls or complaints since Dollar General opened. He added that Dollar General is a commercial business and as long as they’re in compliance with the zoning code, it is out of township leaders’ hands.

Dollar General sent a statement to News 5:

Since opening last month, we’ve enjoyed serving Lafayette Township as we believe the addition of each new store provides positive economic benefits including additional access to affordable products for customers; the creation of new jobs for local residents and career development opportunities for our employees; the generation of additional tax revenue; and the ability for local nonprofits, schools and libraries to apply for literacy and education grants through the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. 

In addition to affordable access to household essentials we carry, the new store also offers fresh fruits and vegetables including lettuce, tomatoes, onions, apples, strawberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lemons, limes, salad mixes, and more. Of note, we currently offer fresh produce in more than 3,000 stores with plans to offer it in a total of up to 10,000 stores in the coming years with a meaningful number of stores located in current USDA-defined food deserts. 

We appreciate the opportunity to highlight our stance as a strong business partner and good neighbor as our hope is to make the relationship between the community and Dollar General a mutually beneficial one.
Dollar General

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