WILMINGTON — Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) members turned down a request from a developer for Dollar General to get a waiver from regulations to build a store at the junction of U.S. 68 and S.R. 350 in Clinton County.
Clinton County RPC Executive Director Taylor Stuckert said Monday that as part of county subdivision regulations, the RPC has to follow guidelines for access management of projects — such as distance between driveways and distance from road intersections.
The developer’s proposal did not meet those requirements, said Stuckert, thereby creating the need for a variance (waiver) to be requested and granted for the proposed project to go forward.
The junction of Routes 68 and 350 is unusual in that it has two two-way ramps. The proposed access driveway to a new store would be on one of the ramps, making it close to two intersections.
Stuckert said he does not feel it is appropriate to place a commercial driveway that will increase traffic “in an already unsafe location.”
Crystal Ghassemi, who works in corporate communications for the Dollar General Corporation, stated in an email Monday, “Dollar General is currently in a due diligence phase for a new store in Cuba, OH. This means that we’re interested in adding a new store to serve Clinton County residents, but we haven’t committed to doing so quite yet. Based on our current timeline, we expect a final decision to be made by late summer 2019.”
She added, “When choosing store locations, meeting customers’ needs is Dollar General’s top priority. The company looks for places where we can offer customers an easy and convenient shopping choice. We know convenience is a major factor in our customers’ shopping decisions as we generally serve customers within a three- to five-mile radius, or 10-minute drive. We also take demographic trends, competitive factors, traffic patterns and community concerns into consideration.”
The Cuba store would employ approximately six to 10 employees, she said, depending on the individual needs of the store.
Ghassemi described Dollar General as one of America’s fastest-growing retailers.
There is an appeal process whereby the RPC decision could be taken to Clinton County Common Pleas Court, said Stuckert.
Stuckert discussed the RPC decision on Monday with county commissioners while he was there for an appointment on a separate topic. The store proposal does not come close to meeting the criteria for a variance, he told commissioners.
“This is simply a request to split off land, to develop it for economic value, and that’s not a good reason to compromise public safety,” Stuckert said.
The RPC vote was unanimous against the request for a variance. There was one abstention: Clinton County Commissioner Mike McCarty. He said Monday he tries to abstain on any issue that may come to the county commissioners at a later date so that he can be impartial.
Meanwhile, Dollar General is expected to build a new store in Clinton County on Routes 22 and 3 across from Bible Baptist Church.
Presently, there are four Dollar General stores in Clinton County, and one in the adjacent village of Lynchburg in Highland County, according to a Google search.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.