Since the vote on Jan. 29, many in the community have expressed how shocked, disheartened, and disturbed they are that the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to rezone historic, rural-residential-agricultural land at the heart of Ebony, V.A., to become home to yet another Dollar General. 

Not only is this not a fit for the Ebony area, but it opens the doors for future commercial development directly alongside Prospect Cemetery/Church – a historic landmark and anchor.

This vote happened despite the fact that 75 percent of the attendees who filled the room were staunchly against it and mirrored broader community sentiment. Speakers provided substantive comments that showed more significant implications, demonstrating how the new store would harm the community and not be a net benefit to either Ebony or the County as a whole. Most importantly, we showed how approval of this rezoning application was not compliant with the zoning governance enforcement for the County legislated in the Code of Virginia.

From the perspective of the Ebony Preservation Group, this vote to approve the rezoning application reflected a blatant disregard of land management governance designed to prevent precisely what has been allowed to happen. Legitimate rezoning decisions must consider all impacts and trade-offs. This decision does not; it only accommodates Dollar General with no regard to the negative impacts on the community and suggests a grim future of the County. In any case, the land use maps do not support any form of Business zoning for the area.

Given the significant negative implications to Ebony associated with rezoning the subject land,  and implications for similar scenarios in all A-1 Districts across the County, the EPG was formed to pool and coordinate our time and talent to fight it and to create a communication platform. We are all for business development that is appropriately aligned with location and does not harm the character of rural communities and the overarching authentic rural character and attraction of the County. Dollar General is not a fit for the heart of the quaint Ebony community, and it will be harmful.

It is so sad and disturbing that those who voted for the rezoning — Supervisors Seward (Sturgeon) and Tyler (Powellton), and Chair Harris (Totaro) — seem to have deviated from the responsibilities of their position. 

Also notable: they are not supporting the leadership of the district impacted who opposed for all the right reasons. Yet these three supervisors are imposing irrevocable consequences to the Meherrin community and the lives and homes of many people across several generations and all generations going forward. 

We want to thank all those who took a stand to oppose this rezoning request and, in particular, Supervisors John Zubrod and Bernard Jones, and planning commission members. They demonstrated the leadership required to achieve the vision and a bright future for Brunswick County and could not be swayed by Dollar General.

We appreciate the love and commitment to Ebony and all efforts to preserve this special place. If you would like to learn more about our group or read a more comprehensive response to the vote, please visit KeepEbonyCountry.org. We aren’t going anywhere.

Anne Edwards Hartley

Ebony Preservation Group

Ebony, Va.