Neighbors fail in effort to stop dollar store on Troost

Shawn Stewart, attorney for Dollar General, argued before the Board of Zoning Adjustment that neighborhoods did not deserve a rehearing of the request for a zoning variance for a proposed dollar stores at 42nd and Troost. Despite arguments from Angela Splittgerber and Spark Bookhart on behalf of the neighborhoods, the BZA denied the request for a new hearing, allowing the project to go forward.

In a scene that is playing out across the country, neighborhood groups went to city hall yesterday to call attention to a growing number of dollar stores being built, including several planned for Troost Avenue.

The neighborhoods were hoping for a rehearing on a proposal for building a Dollar General store at 42nd and Troost, but they left city hall disappointed.

Representatives of Hyde Park, Manheim Park, Longfellow and the Green Impact Zone had hoped the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) would either deny variances it granted in April or rehear the zoning variance request.

The BZA heard arguments for rehearing the case, then said it needed to go into closed session to confer with legal counsel, and came back to vote. Without discussion, it denied the request for a rehearing, leaving Dollar General free to proceed with building a store at 4235 Troost.

The BZA had previously approved the variances on April 23, but Angela Splittgerber, representing the Hyde Park and Longfellow neighborhoods, requested a rehearing, saying there was new evidence since the previous hearing and that the neighborhoods could also show good cause for the BZA to hold a rehearing.

Neighbors say they have spent considerable time planning for the type of development that will help Troost succeed, and multiple dollar stores are not the type of development they have envisioned.

“No development is a better option than bad development,” Splittgerber said in a recent interview. “We are willing to wait for development in line with the planning that has been done.”

The recent interest in Troost by dollar stores has raised concerns because Dollar General and its competitors Family Dollar and Dollar Tree have been rapidly expanding in communities across the country.

“In recent years, arguably no section of the retail world has experienced as much success as the dollar store,” Time magazine wrote last year. “The trio of major dollar store chains—Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree—have all been expanding dramatically. The number of Dollar Generals, for instance, has doubled in a decade, from roughly 5,000 to over 10,000 locations.”

The New York Times reported citizen groups have also opposed dollar stores in in New Hampshire, New Mexico, California, Indiana and Vermont.

“While Wal-Mart has managed to open only four stores in Vermont and Target still has none, more than two dozen Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores have cropped up around the state. All three companies are thriving in the bad economy — between them, they have more than 20,000 outlets nationwide, selling everything from dog treats to stain remover and jeans to pool toys. Their spread through Vermont, with its famously strict land-use laws, has caught chain-store opponents off guard,” the Times said.

The BZA was had been asked to consider a zoning variance for another Family Dollar proposed for 4601 Troost, but that case was withdrawn from the docket yesterday because the developer is no longer asking for a variance.

There is currently a Family Dollar at 3156 Troost.

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