Dollar General withdraws from building a store in Oregon

Kelly J. Kaczala

        The Oregon Planning Commission last Tuesday agreed to withdraw an application for a special use permit in an A-1 Agricultural District for the construction of a 10,640 square foot General Dollar Store at 5741 Cedar Point Road.
        Many in the audience were pleased by the withdrawal, which came at the end of the meeting, because they were opposed to the store.
        The applicant was GBT Realty for owner Greater Metropolitan Title Inc.
        Mayor Mike Seferian, who has a seat on the commission, said he initially was unsure the general retail store was Dollar General because the name was not included in the application. It only stated it was for a general retail store.
        “When someone applies for any type of zoning change, they give us some information of what they are requesting but they do not always have to give a purpose,” said Seferian. We have come to understand it is likely a Dollar General Store. We are not allowed to really talk about it. They did not say that in their application. The Dollar General Store, when they applied for their building permits in Jerusalem Township, ironically submitted the exact same building plan.  So we can draw the conclusion that it is a Dollar General Store with exactly the same building and parking layout.”
        The commission had expected a representative to come to the meeting to give a presentation, but their flight was delayed due to snow in Tennessee. He believed he would be 45 minutes late.
        “We tried to get in touch to see if that’s still on schedule, and we haven’t been able to determine that.  There has been a lot of discussion on social media where people have concerns. Chairman Scott Winckowski will open the meeting. If for some reason they are not able to show up here, we will still open the public hearing,” said Seferian.
        Winckowski then stated he had the opportunity to review all of the emails received and believes Larry and Darla Bohland had expressed the concerns of the majority of the emails.
        Those concerns include:
        •Not receiving a public notice about the application for a special use permit in the neighborhood or on the corner lot;
        •For a quiet community, the store was not appropriate for the area;
        •Putting a retail store in the area will take away from local owned retail stores;
        •The corner of Stadium and Cedar Point is a dangerous intersection. It would become a worse traffic issue with any additional cars pulling out of the retail parking lot;
        •The bike path on Stadium Road is popular for local and out of town friends. It is the only busy street on the bike path they need to cross at a corner without a traffic light. With additional cars coming out of a retail parking lot, it would be an accident waiting to happen for bike path users;
         •Additional trash along a ditch from the parking lot on Stadium and farmers’ fields surrounding the area;
        •The parking lot lights would be an eyesore and attract mayflies due to the proximity to Lake Erie;
        •Stadium Road has had businesses close for a long duration in the recent past. They don’t want another empty retail building sitting in their neighborhood.
Public support
        “The applicant does not want to be at battle with either the city or the residents in that area,” said Seferian. “They tend to see themselves as the replacements of neighborhood carry outs. That’s their niche. Dollar General doesn’t own any of these properties themselves. They hook up with a property management company that builds the buildings, secures the site, and get a long-term lease from them. I think it’s highly likely they will withdraw. That’s likely the outcome.”
        They want the public to support the stores, and “hoped to be welcomed,” he added.
        “I told them it does not appear to be the case here,” he said.            
        “However, they almost purchased property at Stadium and Corduroy roads. If they do, the property is already zoned properly. All they have to do is get a building permit. No public hearing is required. They can just build it,” he said.
        James Gilmore, building and zoning commissioner, explained the difference between a zoning change and a special use. With a zoning change, if it is C-2, there is a long list of allowable uses that can be there. But with a special use, it is site specific.
        “With a special use, you can put additional provisions on the property that you would not be able to do with a zoning change. For instance, if it was C-2, you have an option to put a fence up or can do other things in the buffer, but with a special use, the planning commission could say they definitely want a fence up or require there be so many feet from the property line. They can put specific instructions in place,” said Gilmore.
        Seferian said he had received word that Dollar General decided to withdraw its application for a special use at that site.
        “They will entertain other options,” said Seferian.
        Planning Commission members agreed to accept the withdrawal of the application.


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