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Posted March 16, 2011 | comments 2 Comments

Discussions slated for potential store

Dollar General construction means home demolition

By J.R. Williams-jrwilliams@nvdaily.com

MIDDLETOWN -- New site plans for a proposed Dollar General store on Main Street show an updated building design, and discussions on the development are set to take place in the weeks ahead.

The national retail chain wants to build a 9,100-square-foot building on a lot at 7695 Main St. A home there -- built in 1911, according to county real estate records -- would be demolished to make way for the store.

Town Zoning Administrator Fred Wharton said that the updated plans will be submitted to Planning Commission members this week for discussion at two upcoming meetings.
The panel has a work session scheduled for Monday, and will meet again March 28.
Wharton said he also plans to bring the issue to the Town Council at an April 4 work session in advance of that group's April 11 meeting.

Council members hold final authority on the development, which is allowed by right in the property's B1 zoning classification, but initial plans were met with concern earlier this month by the Planning Commission. Some members said the proposal clashed with the town's comprehensive plan and showed a design inconsistent with local architecture.

Updated plans add a pitched canopy to the front of the store with four columns flanking the front glass doors. Other concerns submitted by Planning Commission member Pete Heffern also were addressed.

Heffern submitted a review of the plan at a recent meeting that asks for clarification on about 30 design points, including storm drainage and erosion control.

Dollar General has asked for some exceptions to the zoning ordinance, including fewer parking spaces and the building's rear setback.

Sarah Holley, of engineering firm Gresham, Smith and Partners, submitted responses to Heffern's inquiries, and some changes were made. Sidewalks were added along the Main Street frontage, additional curb was drawn in and additional requested plans were submitted to the town, according to the response.

Heffern could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, proponents are attempting to drum up support. Wharton said results of a door-to-door survey are favorable to the proposal. Of 125 people asked as of Monday afternoon, 113 welcomed the chain, he said.

Wharton said he also reached out to those with town business licenses. Of the 24 that have responded, 17 were in favor.

Should the store be built, it would operate under a 15-year lease and bring about 10 jobs, he said.

"The town council has to be fiscally responsible," Wharton said. "With our budget, I can't [see] how they can turn it down."

Planning Commission members have said a thorough review is their responsibility.

2 Comments | Leave a comment

    This store would not only supply new taxes for the town it would bring potential customers to other stores in town supporting them as well.
    The few that don't want this new revenue source seem to not be concerned about those who need jobs or more local shopping options.
    This towns planning Comm. needs to do more than just find ways to save a few old unsold houses but to give the town ways to pay it's bills.

    Please let me correct Mr. Wharton.

    By-right development refers to projects that are permitted under current zoning. GBT's current plan does not follow the B1 zoning rules and they are asking for exceptions to be made.

    That is why it is on the Planning Commission's table and being held to meet the requirements of the Comprehensive Plan. So far, this proposed development has very, very many weaknesses and there has been limited cooperation by GBT. We can not arbitrarily decide to okay this proposal because it would be convenient shopping or even worse, save Middletown from its financial problems (which is being highly questioned now).

    And as for the survey...

    Since the interviewers are admittedly biased the survey is invalid. I have talked to some of the people surveyed who said they were misled and even bullied.

    If those of you who are being so vocal want to actually be constructive, join the Comprehensive Plan update committee.

    Anita Holley
    Planning Commissioner
    Owner of The Wonderful Store

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