Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New dollar-store battle may be in store for West Main

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 4:04 PM

Family Dollar is looking to move up West Main Street from the Bulls Head plaza to a free-standing building on the corner of West Main and Edgewood Park — not far from the site of an earlier controversy over a similar application. 

"Yeah, a cookie-cutter thing for West Main Street," says Dawn Noto, president of the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association. "Here we go again." 

The city Planning Commission will hold an informal meeting on the proposal at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 20, in City Council chambers at City Hall, 30 Church Street. The Planning Commission must make a recommendation to City Council, which has final say on the application. 

Just east of the West Main-Edgewood Park intersection is the vacant Westminster Presbyterian Church, which has been an on-and-off source of controversy over the last few years. The historic church's owner, Marvin Maye, initially wanted to tear the church down for a dollar store. That didn't fly, however, and Maye's latest proposal is for a grocery store. 

The city's Zoning Board gave Maye permission last summer to tear down the church, but nothing has happened. Noto says that Maye's permission to demolish the church expires in August. (Maye could not be reached for comment on this story. His phone is not accepting calls.) 

Noto opposes the Family Dollar move for many of the same reasons that she opposed Maye's application, namely, that it would bring down an area that has been struggling to reinvent and revitalize itself. The Family Dollar would be a high-impact operation, according to the Planning Commission, which are stores under 20,000 square feet that sell tobacco, and/or alcohol and lottery tickets. 

Family Dollar may sell some food items, Noto says, but it's not a grocery store; it's more like a super-sized convenience store. 

If the neighborhood loses its revitalization momentum now, Noto says, it would be difficult to get it back. 

"Once you lose it," she says, "it's gone forever." 

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