Dollar General One Step Closer to San Christopher
Dunedin City Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of preliminary land use and zoning changes and site plans for a Dollar General discount retail store that would replace an "eyesore" storage lot on San Christopher Drive on Thursday.
Ron Retterer just wanted to sell the "eyesore" storage lot he's owned for the past 20 to 30 years.
"I’m ready to sell this place, I really am," he told Dunedin Commissioners at Thursday night's city meeting.
And despite the fact that a citizen advisory board recommended city leaders deny plans for a Dollar General Store on his lot, commissioners told impassioned Dunedin residents they had no legal reason to do so.
"It’s about, 'what does the law say,' " Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski told residents. "If you say that [the store] is not compatible. It’s got to be something within our code."
Residents issued passionate arguments both for and against the discount retail chain planned for 1326 San Christopher Drive, near the Pinehurst Road intersection, for a large part of the meeting-turned-quasi-judicial-hearing Thursday.
Residents' biggest arguments against the retailer were increased traffic of delivery trucks, stormwater runoff and noise concerns.
A lawyer for Dollar General, however, pointed out that customers with large RVs, 18-wheelers, boats and other vehicles drive to or pickup daily from Retterer's storage lot. And should a future store manager decide to carry perishable items such as bread and milk, the number of deliveries would not equal that of the current large-vehicle traffic to the area.
Dollar General developers also agreed to build a concrete fence as a buffer between the neighborhood to its east and provide its own stormwater runoff pond.
The property currently does not have any stormwater treatment because its purchase pre-dates regulations that made it mandatory to have them.
Some residents saw potential jobs, added convenience, and beautification in the possibility of an incoming Dollar General.
Rose Retterer, who co-owns the land and lives nearby with her husband, said she knows many of her elderly friends have lost their spouses and are scared to death to drive anywhere, let alone to major roads like State Road 580 or U.S. 19.
"Some of these women have never driven," she said.
Dollar General, she said, "is a logical alternative. They can pick up a few things that they need and maybe they can subsist a little bit longer."
Commission approval was unanimous.
The City Commission also approved plans for a Dollar General at 1260 Belcher Road in October. Dunedin has one other Dollar General Store at Causeway Plaza. The stores carry school supplies, beach items, toys, toiletries, dog and cat food, clothing, accessories, food items and seasonal decorations at prices between $1 and $10.
The national retail chain is looking to expand by 600 to 800 stores in Florida over the next year.