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Our View: Let’s plan for compromise

You’d have thought the Dollar General in Alta Sierra was going to have nude dancers.

In fact, that wasn’t the case. But watching some of the opposition to the store, you might have wondered what could cause such outrage.

Turns out, it was cheap cat food and cleaning supplies. And, of course, the perennial argument that chain stores should be forbidden in Nevada County. Unless it’s Trader Joe’s.



There’s an exception to everything.

The years-long bureaucratic process to approve a Dollar General at 10166 Alta Sierra Drive ended in 2018, when the Board of Supervisors gave it the green light. But after three years of inaction, it appears the opponents have won anyway, as supervisor approval came with a time limit and the deadline passed last month.




Dollar General issued an emailed statement saying it has no current plans to pursue more stores in Nevada County. The whole thing seems to have passed with barely a whimper.

But past the empty lot where the business would have gone, past all the arguments, the same old questions remain: What do the residents of this county want? What direction do they want this community to go?

Nothing stays the same. We go forward or back, up or down, but never frozen in place. Inaction bears its own set of complications and consequences.

Anyone who lives here knows that.

Housing is difficult, so many people live outside the area and commute here. That means they’re paying more for gas and have less for other necessities. That, in turn, means they need places like Dollar General.

Or they’re single parents and money’s tight. Or it’s just their own money, earned through their labor, and they want to spend it how they see fit.

This isn’t a jab against local business. Our local businesses form an essential building block of our community, contributing to fundraisers, employing locals and keeping our dollars here in Nevada County. Locally owned businesses give life to this county.

But that doesn’t mean we should declare all other businesses verboten, especially when so many of us struggle financially to pay bills during a pandemic.

It might be considered a dirty word in some circles, but “compromise” is what’s needed. In reality, we already have quite a bit of it. It might just be time to codify it.

Both downtowns are filled with local, independent businesses that make these areas unique, as well as provide jobs and bolster our economy. We protect these areas because they, in part, define us.

But just like we can’t preserve every historic home, we can’t make every part of this county conform to the ideals we set for our downtowns. People need options in where they shop, just as business owners need the ability to locate in a properly zoned area while meeting all government codes.

Just like Dollar General. Just like Higgins Marketplace. And perhaps just like Dorsey Marketplace.

Seemingly never-ending battles over the location, or even existence, of a certain business drains our time from topics where it’s better focused. Let’s target the spots we want preserved, like our downtowns, and properly zone the areas where businesses, even chain businesses, can operate.

Let’s reach a compromise on this now so we don’t spend years battling a business that wants to locate here.

We’re talking about tolerating businesses that operate where the law allows.

After all, it’s not worth losing your shirt over this argument.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com


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