Dollar General Store Advances to Town Board

It’s time for Egg Harbor’s supervisors to weigh in

The proposed Dollar General store survived the Town of Egg Harbor’s Architectural Control Board review Monday evening.

It’s now up to the full town board to make a final decision about whether the chain store will be built where Highway 42 meets Hillside Road next to the Egg Harbor Fun Park.

The Architectural Control Board’s role Monday was to review the developer’s plans for conformance with the town’s standards for commercial buildings. Those standards include details such as the site’s general character, landscaping, building mass, screening, exterior architectural appeal, lighting, driveway access and site design.

The board focused primarily on screening and adding an architectural detail to break up the long roofline of the 9,100-square-foot building. 

“We have to stay on track, and aesthetic wise, make it look the best we can,” said Pam Krauel, Egg Harbor clerk/treasurer, who is also a member of the Plan Commission and Architectural Control Board. “I believe we’ve addressed this as we have other businesses. The last one was the Cheese Factory, and we were very diligent to create good landscaping.”

Specifically, the board approved the project unanimously with seven conditions:

• Cut the native vegetation back on the southeast corner to aid visibility.

• Plant six-foot-tall evergreens along the parking lot’s south end to screen the property across the street from the Dollar General building.

• Plant a low-growing row of evergreen shrubbery along the Highway 42 frontage.

• Plant six-foot-tall evergreens along the northwest corner, and move existing evergreens to the north side of the parking lot.

• Plant six-foot-tall evergreens along the eastern property line to screen the neighboring property from the store. 

• Duplicate the dormer and cupola proposed for the south end of the building on the north end to break up the building’s long roofline.

The board was satisfied with the downward-facing, full-cutoff lighting that would be mounted on the building at a height of 10 feet, and only on its west and north sides. Hours of operation would likely be 9 am – 9 pm. Signage would shut off immediately when the store closed, and an hour later, the energy-management system would reduce all the lights by 75 percent. 

Signage would be permitted separately under a separate application process. It would be about 50 square feet, either elevated or a monument sign, and located “in the general vicinity of the intersection,” said the proposed project’s developer, Peter Oleszczuk of Midwest Property Development.

Oleszczuk intends to construct the building and lease it back to Dollar General. He said he had a 15-year corporate lease with the Tennessee-based chain store for the Egg Harbor location, with a five-year option after that. 

He divulged this information when asked what would happen if the project went forward and the store wasn’t successful.

“If I were operating under the assumption they wouldn’t be successful, I wouldn’t be making this investment,” Oleszczuk said. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and that [a store closure] has never been anything that has happened.”

Monday’s virtual meeting drew 25 people. The attendance was dramatically reduced from the public hearing two weeks ago, when the Zoom meeting reached its capacity of 100, and people used the call-in option or waited for a seat at the virtual table. Those who spoke at the public hearing overwhelmingly opposed the development. 

The Architectural Control Board meeting format allows 10 minutes of public comment. Two spoke in opposition: the We Are Eggs Against Dollar General opposition group’s attorney, Tyler Pluff; and Michael Stapleton, a Hillside Road resident. 

Tyler Pluff of Pinkert Law Firm used this visual during an earlier hearing while presenting the case on behalf of an opposition group, We Are Eggs Against Egg Harbor. The group is asking the town to require a traffic study prior to approval. The Egg Harbor town supervisors have not weighed in on the project yet, but they are scheduled to do so March 15.

Both addressed aspects of the project that they said didn’t conform with the standards, such as the long roofline and the screening – particularly to the east, where the elevation of the neighboring property is higher.

Pluff also pressed the board to consider the town’s comprehensive plan, which indicates that if commercial uses begin to increase, small businesses would primarily locate in Carlsville and adjacent to the Village of Egg Harbor.

Town Attorney Randy Nesbitt said the town’s comprehensive plan was only a guide.

“You’re not required to follow to a T that guidance,” he said.

Krauel said she counted 18 commercial businesses along a 3.5-mile stretch of Highway 42 from the Village of Egg Harbor’s southern border to Schartner’s. 

The opposition’s primary argument has been about traffic-safety issues that would be created if the Dollar General were built. They have asked the town to require a traffic study before approving the project.

The Architectural Control Board said safety was beyond its purview, and the town board would take up that issue.

The Egg Harbor Town Board will decide on the proposed Dollar General store Monday, March 15, 7 pm.

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