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Gantt retail one step closer

Gantt residents are one step closer to having a Dollar General department store after commissioners approved a re-subdivision of the store’s proposed location Monday.

County Engineer Darren Capps said the property, which is located on U.S. Hwy. 29 North next to Green’s BBQ, was originally intended for a residential subdivision.

Commissioners unanimously agreed to re-subdivide the property to allow for the retail store’s construction.

“Retail in Gantt, that’s a good thing,” said Chairman Lynn Sasser. “We’re happy to see it coming.”

If completed, it would be the second new Dollar General store in the county and the first of its kind in Gantt. The Red Level Dollar General store opened in October, just in time for Halloween.

Commissioners also heard from residents of Red Level’s Roslyn Ridge Road.

First to address the group was Stanley Coons, who said he believed the limestone the county was using on roadways poses a health hazard to residents.

Coons presented soil test results, which he said showed the soil contained respirable crystalline silica – a known carcinogen.

“I may not be a scientist, but when exposure exceeds what the government says is safe, it’s called over-exposure,” he said. “This stuff can kill you. It causes cancer. There are no warning signs. You’re well one day, sick the next.”

Both Capps and the commissioners said the practice of using limestone is implemented statewide and is a long-standing practice in the road maintenance industry.

“Yes, but is the risk worth the effort?” Coons said. “I’m not asking you to go tear up county roads. That’s stupid. I just want our roads to be safer for future generations.”

Coons’ neighbors – a group of about 10 who were present at the day’s meeting – said they are pleased with the road’s condition and presented a 117-name signed petition of like-minded residents.

“I believe if the federal government had found a problem with what (the county) was using, we would have been sued by now,” said Duane O’Neal. “If you can put it in toothpaste, baby diapers and Tums, it’s safe enough to be on our roads.

“Our road was almost impassable before we had (limestone) put on it,” he said. “Now, thanks to the commissioners, it’s in the best shape ever.”

Capps said aside from Coons, he’s had no complaints about the practice.

“Now, I’ve heard a lot of compliments,” he said. “I’ve also had a lot of requests from people to put it on ‘my road.’ I don’t understand the complaint.”