Planning commission allows Dollar General in Oval

A somewhat-controversial Dollar General building in Oval has been cleared to continue construction, the Lycoming County Planning Commission agreed Thursday.

The building is slated to disturb about two acres at the intersection of Route 44 and Shed Road in Limestone Township.

The commission received a petition letter from concerned Oval residents, said Joshua Billings, subdivision and land development administrator. That parcel was forwarded on to Dollar General officials, as the correspondence itself requested.

This store is much different, aesthetically, than the typical flat-roofed and metal siding that many residents have come to expect, said Gabriel Hutchinson, vice president of Hutchinson Realty Development, LLC.

“Before the building was developed, we started with the intention to try to put the best type of architectural building in that scenario,” said Hutchinson. The design choices were made before the petition was received.

The siding of the building is stone, with a wooden frame, Billings said.

“They had this particular building designed specifically for this area due to trying to match with the community,” he said. “It’s a nicely designed building with a pitched roof.”

The developer has secured a letter to send to the Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority and has filed for on-site sewage storage, but with only one bathroom in the plan, it will see significantly less usage than a single-family home, said Billings.

The parking lot has several light poles but, in accordance with the ordinance, they do not exceed 20 feet tall. Additionally the parking lot is designed to accommodate deliveries from a tractor trailer.

County ordinance requires certain types of buffer yards, or certain bushes and trees to cut down on noise and view from neighboring areas, depending of the level of impact, said Billings.

As an impact-level five, this Dollar General is required to block 50 percent of its viewable area from surrounding areas.

The designers have chosen to also put trees in the parking lot, which will allow for shaded parking and less heat emission from the pavement.

Some planning commission members voiced their support for the thought that went into matching the building with the community.

“The store has a much nicer appearance than the others, not that the others are bad but they have a more industrial appearance,” said member Joseph Repard.

Jim Dunn, another member, said the design brings up the question of designing regulation enforcing chain businesses to match.

“This is a formula business. What they’ve done is kind of been out ahead of some formula business-based regulation with designing your structures to blend in with your district purposes,” he said.

Committee members present were Carl Nolan, Jim Crawford, Jim Dunn, Joseph Repard, and Christopher Keiser were present; absent were Michael Sherman, Larry Allison Jr., Howard Fry III.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 19 in Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.