BRUNSWICK – The city Planning Commission unanimously rejected a proposal for a Dollar General store at Pearl Road and Stone Creek Drive after dozens of residents of a nearby upper-middle-class housing development argued the discount store would create traffic and safety problems and hurt property values.
In voting to turn down the proposal Thursday, Joe Shirilla, chairman of the Planning Commission, said the store conflicted with the city’s long-range “corridor plan” for Pearl Road, which calls for a “small business entrepreneurship center” at the corner where Dollar General hoped to build.
“We’re not picking on Dollar General, but this gives us an opportunity to take a leap in the right direction,” he said.
Dollar General had not yet presented full plans to the board.
But Thursday’s preliminary discussion drew a heated outcry from some local residents.
“It’s going to be a nightmare,” said Don Gronert, one of about 30 Stone Creek subdivision residents who attended the meeting.
Gronert voiced concerns about traffic, but also pointed to the corridor plan that called for businesses in the area of Stone Ridge Drive and Pearl Road to include offices, specialty retail and local services.
“We have to ask, what does this offer Brunswick?” Gronert said.
The residents were supported by their councilman, Dave Coleman, who represents Ward 3. Coleman echoed concerns that the proposed store doesn’t line up with goals stated in the corridor plan.
Planning Commission members also said there was plenty of vacant retail space available in Brunswick.
At-large Councilman Brian Ousley, who serves as a representative to the Planning Commission, suggested the Dollar General should look at available retail space or construction in a retail plaza that’s already established, such as Hickory Ridge.
“There are areas around the city that can be rented out,” he said. “Even though this spot is zoned commercial, I don’t think it’s the right spot for this structure.”
Representatives from the land developer and architect were at the meeting, but no one was available from Dollar General to explain why the company chose the location.
“I’m disappointed we don’t have a representative here from Dollar General,” Planning Commission Vice Chairman Jeff Arona said.
Shirilla said the city would be willing to work with Dollar General to find another location in Brunswick.
Dollar General already has two stores in the city — on Center Road and on Pearl Road in the Laurel Square Shopping Center.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.