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January 23, 2019

12/31/2018 11:18:00 AM
Appeals board next step for Dollar General

It appears adding a new business in the City of Mineral Point is not an easy task.
Thursday, representatives of Dollar General met with the Mineral Point Planning Commission and asked for approval for their plans to place a store at 713 Dodge Street. The site formerly housed Ridge Lumber and is owned by the McCoys. The property has been on the market the past two years.
All members of the Planning Commission were present. The Commission is made up of Mayor Jason Basting, council representatives Gary Galle, Dave Engels, and citizen members Thomas Johnston, Tim Freeman, Julia Marr and Dean Martin.
The council chambers were packed for the meeting seemingly with people of two sides...those who want to see new business in the city and those who feel Dollar General is not in keeping with the community's profile.
Mayor Basting reminded those present the purpose of the meeting is to review the site plan and act on it. The majority of the discussion took place among the commission.
The builders are asking for three variances that are different than present ordinances allow. The changes were discussed and will go to the Board of Appeals who will attempt to schedule a late January meeting.
The three variances that will go to the Board of Appeals requested by the project engineers involve required parking stalls, maximum width of a driveway, and proposed signage.
The required number of parking stalls with the square footage of the building is 61. The project engineer is proposing 30. Todd Platt who is serving as the developer said the stores do not generate enough traffic to need more than 30 stalls. Planning commission member Dean Martin said that would be good because it would leave more greenspace.
The maximum width of a driveway. is 24 feet wide at the property line and 30 feet wide at the curb opening (street connection). The proposed width of the driveway is 35 feet wide at the property line and 83.4 feet at the curb opening. Accommodating delivery trucks was the reason for requesting the change.
The proposed pylon sign is required to be set back 50 feet from the right of way and 4 feet from Dodge Street. The pylon sign is required in lieu of a building facade sign. It is proposed to include the pylon sign as well as the building facade sign.
Platt gave a presentation about Dollar General as a company,
"The new business will employ six to 10 people, and the salary and benefits are very good," he said. "Dollar General is a very good employer and has been around since 1939. It will add to the city's tax base."
In answer to questions by Marr, Platt said there were 24 new stores opened in the state in 2018, and 2019 predictions are for the same. He said the nearest one is in Darlington and was opened in 2010.
Platt continued discussing the company on a national level.
"There were 900 stores opened this past year, and the projection for 2019 is 975," he said.
In answer to a question of how was Mineral Point selected, he said the company looks at such things as number of households, competition, closeness to other stores as some of the selection methods.
"They feel they will do well here," he said.
A question was presented about the possibility of the company working with community to choose a design that would fit the city's aesthetics.
"This is a historic town," said a member of the audience. "Any chance the design could be altered to fit the community?"
"The company uses a cookie cutter design which they tell us they want, and we have no authority to change it," the developer said. "They tell us what they want and we build it then lease it to them. All their buildings look the same."
The proposed building is 9100 square feet.
The developer did say that when it comes to landscaping there could be some discussion about making that appealing to Mineral Point.
Johnston asked what would happen if the business fails and the number of parking spaces are too few for a building this size.
"If that happens who would want it?" he said.
Marr said she does not feel this is the type of building the community is looking for.
"This would not be an improvement," she said.
Another member of the audience said the city has not done anything to enhance the Dodge Street area so this is a moot point.
Dave McCoy, whose family own the property and tried to run a lumber yard there, said this is the only business that has offered to purchase the property in the two years it has been listed for sale.
"They will provide jobs and will enhance the community," he said. "It is either sell to them or lose the property. We tried to make the business work, but it did not happen."
The commission then passed a motion to approve the site plan with approved landscaping and send the three variance requests to the Board of Appeals. The motion passed with Marr and Johnston opposed and Engels abstaining.
Board of Appeals members are Ken Wallace, council member Marla Mitchell, Justin Potterton, Therese Hess and Tom Johnston.

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