PRINCETON — Princeton Common Council Monday reversed an earlier decision to deny a rezoning request, which allows a potential Dollar General Store to locate at North Main and East Glendale Street.
Roger Nuxoll, an engineer speaking on behalf of the company asked that lots at 902 and 906 North Main and 130 East Glendale be rezoned for commercial business use. Part of the property is zoned for professional service business, but not commercial retail at present.
The council originally voted 3-2 to deny the request, but with petitions from several hundred citizens and testimony from several residents presented at a public hearing in August, the Princeton Area Plan Commission unanimously voted to allow the rezoning request to return to the council.
Following testimony Monday night, the council voted 4-1, (Jim Maglis casting the dissenting vote) to allow three lots to be rezoned for commercial use.
Nuxall said a new store similar to the one on South Main in Princeton would generate about $17,500 in property tax revenue each year, including about $9,000 going to the city. In addition to employment, he said the city would get 1% of the sales tax revenue from a store’s average $800,000 to $1 million in gross revenue per year.
Roger Adkins, who owns the property, said the property taxes would increase ten-fold if the three empty lots are developed into a Dollar General Store. He said property value studies show no negative impact when a Dollar General Store is located in neighborhoods.
“We need that Dollar General Store,” Jonita Greene told the council. She said the neighborhood hasn’t had a grocery store for years. She said while some people may have concerns about morning and afternoon weekday school traffic on North Main, “It’s not the same as the factory traffic on the south end,” she said. Greene noted that other businesses in that neighborhood receive truck deliveries without traffic problems.
“Do I like going across town to get a loaf of bread? No! Do I like paying a high dollar price for a loaf of bread? No! … The store needs to be there,” she said.
Robert Utley, 825 North Main, objected to the rezoning. “It’s an eyesore, it’s bad enough the lot’s there, but a dollar store on that corner is doing to destroy my property value.” He said he’s concerned about truck deliveries and the speed of traffic on North Main. “We do not need a dollar store on North Main. We’ve got one on South Main and on West Broadway.”
Brett Decker, who lives on West Poplar Avenue, said he supports a Dollar General Store in that area. “I think it’s a good addition to that part of town.”
Andy Kennard, who lives on West Glendale, said a traffic impact analysis and possibly a turn lane or crosswalk is needed. He said if Dollar General Store plans to locate on North Main, a 16,000 square feet Dollar General Market store that provides produce should be there rather than a convenience-type store.
Chris Mroz told the council he supports the project, noting he’s appreciative of the Dollar General Store on South Main. He said as he speaks with customers at that store, he finds most of the customers are people who walk to the store. He said his daughter just bought house on Spruce Street and would benefit from a store in the neighborhood.
Connor Agnew, 626 East Brumfield, said the community needs to prepare for growth. Bringing in a store that would allow residents of the neighborhood to walk there would be a benefit, he said.
Jeff Seibert, who lives on North Main, said there are few homes near the South Main Dollar General Store, and questioned the idea that a store on North Main wouldn’t have a negative impact on residential property values. He told the council that there are 96 Dollar General Stores within 50 miles, and homes are rarely near those stores, much less three sides of the property. “We don’t need to tear down houses to put in a store,” he said, suggesting a store is better suited in existing commercial areas. He that with the traffic patterns on North Main, adding the store is “just setting us up for disaster.” He said the current zoning provides buffers for residential property.
Michael Workman told the council all the stores he remembers in the late 1970s (Key Market, A&P, IGA, Country Store) are gone. He asked why residential property would be converted for commercial use, citing traffic issues. There’s an empty family dollar already.
Following testimony, councilman Bill Tuley asked what the average speed limit is on North Main, after one resident said cars sometimes hit a rate of up to 70 mph. Police Chief Derek McGraw said the traffic statistics from running speed detectors in that area show the average speed limit is 32 mph.
Councilman Jan Ballard noted that a Princeton Police squad car is on duty in that neighborhood on school days to monitor traffic.
Following discussion, Ballard offered the motion to grant the request, supported by a second from Council President Sheri Greene. Councilman Nick Burns and Bill Tuley also voted in favor of the request, while Maglis maintained the no vote he cast earlier this summer.
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