By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
Barring complications, two Dollar General stores could be under construction in Conneaut at the same time next spring.
At a Thursday night meeting, Cornet's Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved a parking variance application aimed at a 9,100-square foot store slated to rise at the corner of West Main and Gore roads.
One day earlier, the city’s Planning Commission gave its preliminary blessing to an identically-sized store to be build in the downtown district on a parcel bordered by State, Washington and Harbor streets.
Both projects could begin construction in early spring.
Zoning board members approved a variance that shrinks the number of parking spaces at the West Main/Gore store from 69 — normally required of a store that size — to 30. Bob Gage, vice president of development services for GBT Realty Corp., said each of Dollar General’s 10,000 stores have 30 spaces. Traditionally, 10 vehicles visit stores each hour, except between 4-6 p.m. when the traffic doubles. Add four parking spaces for employee vehicles and 30 spots are ample, he said.
Gage said construction at West Main/Gore will begin “on the first warm day in spring.” The store could greet its first customer 70 days later, he said.
It’s believed the project will come before the Planning Commission prior to any groundbreaking.
The property is owned by Rudy Pryately, who also owns a parcel at West Main and Parrish roads that GBT had sought for a Dollar General store earlier this year. A zoning change from R-2 to B-2 (highway business) required for the project was rejected by City Council.
The West Main/Gore site is already zoned B-2, so no change is needed.
Commission members are poised to give full approval to the downtown Dollar General after negotiations between the city and developer, Zaremba Retail are complete. The city wants some cosmetic changes to the exterior to help the store blend with other older buildings in the neighborhood.
Conneaut’s only Dollar General store occupies a storefront at Main and Washington streets, a few steps from the proposed downtown location.