A continuation of the conversation on a new Alexandria Dollar General store at the intersection of Ridgewood Drive and the AA Highway was held Tuesday evening.
Tuesday’s planning and zoning meeting included a continued discussion from a July meeting on a variance request to allow for fewer parking spaces than current zoning allows. At the previous meeting, the planning commission requested additional items be implemented in the design plans; however, the developer returned this month, withdrawing their variance request.
The city could mandate conditions in a variance request, Alexandria City Attorney Mike Duncan said. Without a variance, the planning commission’s job is to review the plans to determine compliance with the zoning ordinance.
“So, by withdrawing their request for a variance, it withdraws your ability to dictate conditions,” Duncan said.
The commission had previously asked the developer to consider multiple items before approving the plans. That included pavement reinforcement in high-traffic areas at the entrance and by the dumpster, brick or stone façade around all sides of the structure, adding a cart corral, 20% of the store being dedicated to storage, having the engineer ensuring sidewalk curb safety, and moving the store sign to a more practical location.
Though the developer withdrew the variance request, the updated plans presented at Tuesday’s meeting did show a larger dumpster and cart carol area, and the sign was moved to a different location on the site.
The Alexandria Planning and Zoning Commission voted to approve the plans, including the variance for fewer parking spaces, the larger dumpster and cart carol area, and the new sign location after the city engineer reviews the plans.
“I’m very pleased with the new enlarged dumpster and recycling area,” Alexandria Planning and Zoning Chair Nick Reitman said. “That was one of the biggest issues that I think we had with the public, was trash being left outside and visible.”
The original sign’s location at the intersection of Ridgewood and Grandview was also an issue brought up at the last meeting. The new plans have it moved back into the parking lot further away from residents.
During a discussion of the site plans, the commission decided to grant the applicant’s request for the variance, allowing 42 parking spaces, down from the required 54, after determining it would allow for more green space and that 42 spots would be sufficient for the business. Campbell County Planning and Zoning Director Cindy Minter said this was a common practice for businesses with people lingering at their company for only a short period.
The proposed plans are for a 10,000-square-foot store on a 3.5-acre parcel. The location breakdown is roughly 8,000 square feet of sales floor and 2,000 square feet of storage area.
Mike Rozier with Rozier Construction, the site’s contractor, said one of the main reasons the variance request was withdrawn was the city’s ask for the façade to be all brick. He said it would have been out of budget to do a brick façade, and they wouldn’t have been able to proceed with the plans.
Reitman said that asking to brick the whole building was a large undertaking.
Unlike the previous meeting on the development, no residents were in attendance to speak.