The size of the store was non-negotiable.
That intractable issue proved to be the breaking point for both sides in a special use permit and rezoning application for a Dollar General in Barboursville.
Last Wednesday morning, Tennessee developer Tim Dunaway emailed Orange County Administrator Bryan David withdrawing the rezoning and special use permit applications for a 9,100-square-foot store in the Barboursville Village Overlay District (BVOD).
At a public hearing Oct. 17, nearly 20 citizens spoke out against the proposed store and the planning commission unanimously recommended denial.
“JMB Investment Company would like to remove our item from the upcoming board of supervisors’ meeting, since the planning commission has voted to recommend denial,” Dunaway wrote.
The store was proposed for a 1.235-acre site at the intersection of Route 20 and Route 33, but exceeded the limit for commercial development square footage within the BVOD.
The property is owned by David Rutt, of Barboursville, and is zoned Commercial 1—limiting any building in the district to 4,000 square feet. By conditionally changing the zoning to Commercial 2, an 8,000-square-foot facility is permitted by right. But even if Dunaway, a senior project manager with JMB Investment Company, cleared the rezoning hurdle, he would still need a special use permit to build the national chain store on Rutt’s Barboursville parcel.
The matter would have gone before the board of supervisors for a final determination next month, but Dunaway withdrew the applications.
“We withdrew because of the recommendation of the planning commission,” he said. “We’re disappointed, but we could not give up on the size of the store.”
Dunaway said he felt like he and Dollar General had done what the county planning office and the BVOD advisory committee had requested, only to discover strong public opposition at the commission’s public hearing last month.
“The planning commission seemed to go along with that,” he said.
Dunaway said the size of the store was “non-negotiable.”
“Dollar General has a fixed prototype store size,” he said. “This is the smallest one. There’s not another option. We couldn’t reduce the store size.”
Jim Crozier, the District 4 Supervisor and the board representative on the planning commission, said Dunaway’s withdrawal was the right decision, given the circumstances.
“They were unwilling to compromise on the size of the store, so this was the appropriate move,” he said. “With all the work the county put into drafting the BVOD guidelines, this just shows how serious the county is about what it’s doing.”
“The community spoke out strongly in opposition to locating a large retail store at the proposed location and Dollar General realized that was a major problem,” District 1 Supervisor Mark Johnson added.
Dunaway’s application was the first challenge within the BVOD.
“If he’d come in with maybe a smaller store, I’m sure we would have tried to talk them down into an even smaller one, and maybe that would have been a possibility,” Crozier said. “But they were asking for a rezoning and a special use permit and not willing to budge. I think the planning commission did well with that and I think, in the end, it’s very positive.”
Rutt’s parcel wasn’t Dunaway’s, nor the company’s, first choice and he said both may continue to seek a location in the western part of Orange County.
“We’re not actively looking at anything at the moment, but we may find something that’s not within the Barboursville Village and consider that,” he said.