Bellefontaine Examiner

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Dollar General permit request denied

Liberty Township Planning Commission rejected Dollar General’s request to build a location along U.S. Route 68 in the vicinity of State Route 508, citing concerns over motorist safety in that area.

The commission had twice previously tabled the retail chain’s request to build a 9,100 square-foot store at 6253 U.S. Route 68, between Consolidated Care Inc. and South Union Cemetery.
The commission cited traffic safety in that area, and the number of crashes as reasons why it declined the conditional use permit.

According to information presented from the regional Ohio Department of Transportation Safety Office, the stretch of U.S. Route 68 between West Liberty and Bellefontaine has seen 12 incapacitating crashes since 2011, and has prompted ODOT’s engineers to take a closer look at that area to determine if anything can be done to make travel safer, including lowering the speed limit in that area.

Even still, the number of cars that pass that stretch of road each day — about 5,900 in total and the total number of drives off the road — still qualifies as a “low-volume” roadway, according to ODOT classifications.

Bob Gage, vice president of Net Lease Development for GBT Realty Corporation — the Tennessee-based real estate developer tasked with securing a location and all required permits — said traffic studies are standard procedures for each of Dollar General’s proposed locations, and that the retailer would comply with any ODOT directives.

In the end though, the Liberty Township Planning Commission believes that area is already plenty hazardous and a retail store would only make it more so.

Mark Kauffman, Randy Horsley and Steve Rabenstein voted no. Herb Couchman was the lone ‘yes’ vote.

According to Mr. Gage, a Dollar General in that location would gnerate approximately $12,000 worth of property taxes each year, about $7,000 would have gone to West Liberty-Salem schools. Mr. Gage also estimated that the store would generate about $87,000 worth of sales tax receipts per year.

Dollar General looked at 11 sites, including the proposed location, in the surrounding West Liberty area. Mr. Gage said. He wasn’t certain whether an alternative location would be pursued for the store.

The store would have employed between 10 and 15 people.

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