Longtime residents of Springettsbury Township know the land at 3790 E. Market St. as the "Ettline property," named after the family that lived there and operated an antique store for decades.
And though the property has switched hands a couple of times since the Ettlines last lived there a few years ago, descendents are now fighting to keep the 1.1-acre prime commercial site from being called "Dollar General."
The discount retailer is considering the property for the relocation of its store in Stonybrook Shopping Center.
The family has launched a preemptive campaign to save the old house and barn from demolition.
Dollar General has announced no such plans and says the property is just one of several being considered.
Opposition: Shirley Ettline Dreyer, a 67-year-old Manchester Township resident, said she grew up in the house and lived there until she was 30. She said the family and community members who don't want to see the circa 1850 buildings destroyed are trying to stop the Dollar General plans from advancing before it's too late.
Other historic buildings have been lost to development because there wasn't enough resistance, said community activist Jane Heller, who along with Dreyer and nephew Chadd Ettline turned out at Wednesday's York County Commissioners meeting to speak against the possible purchase.
"Do we really need a Dollar General store, another one?" Ettline asked commissioners.
He and Heller encouraged the meeting's physical and television audience to apply pressure to those involved in the deal.
They include real estate agent Adam Hagerman with Bennett Williams Realty, who said his firm was asked by Dollar General to identify potential relocation sites in the desired market.
The firm sent the company all the properties, but it's up to the retailer and developer to identify which site to pursue, he said.
"They're still early in the stages and haven't decided," he said.
Company spokeswoman Crystal Ghassemi said the national chain is still considering its options, and the property is one of several potential sites on a list.
"It's on a long list of properties," she said. "We're looking at a wide variety of options, including staying where we are. We're very respectful of community concerns when we look at store remodels or relocations."
Township issue: While commissioner Chris Reilly has said he'd make a phone call on behalf of the family, he and his colleagues on the board said the issue will ultimately fall to Springettsbury Township.
While the family is concerned about demolition, township manager John Holman said the company hasn't even submitted plans.
The issue came to officials' attention after the township's historic preservation committee learned the company was considering the site, he said.
The property is on the township's "significant property list," based on a survey of historic properties performed in the 1990s, Holman said.
The special designation doesn't mean the buildings on the site can't be demolished, but such a process would be held up because "if anything is done to the property, the historic preservation committee needs to come in and document the site."
- Staff writer Christina Kauffman can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.