HEBRON – Planning and Zoning Board members voted unanimously Monday night to recommend that a rezoning request to build a Dollar General store on East Main Street be denied. Village council members have the final say on rezoning requests, but it will take a super majority vote on Dec. 10 to overturn the board’s recommendation.
“I hear what the residents are saying,” said Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason, who serves on the planning and zoning board. He said he’s heard from several residents. “Everybody would love to see a Dollar General in Hebron,” Mason said, but some residents are concerned about traffic at the proposed location at the Dernberger property in the 500 block of East Main Street – just west of the US 40 and Ohio 79 interchange. “I’m not convinced that’s the right place for them.”
PennTex Ventures, LLC, representing Dollar General, requested a zoning amendment to change the zoning at the Dernberger property from medium density residential to neighborhood commercial.
“They have to evaluate the situation,” said attorney Richard “Butch” Bindley, representing PennTex. “There really is no alternative” location. He said the Dernberger property is Dollar General’s only option to build in Hebron because the Kroger shopping center east of Ohio 79 has a deed restriction, prohibiting similar retail on that property. Building at the old Bowman Chevrolet dealership site would require expensive soil mitigation for pollutants, and any other available lots are in a floodplain.
Previously, PennTex representative Ashley Weinman said PennTex has been looking for a suitable Dollar General location in Hebron for two years. “That is not an exaggeration,” she said. “I personally have been in Hebron searching for a good site for Dollar General for about two years. We initially had located the old (Bowman) car dealership; I believe it is the address 126 Main Street, along there. We experienced severe soil issues. They were just at the level that it just was not financially feasible for us to pursue that site with remediation. We also have looked at other kind of vacant options, across the street next to the shopping plaza here. The biggest issue that we have kind of come in contact here particularly in Hebron is the flood zone issue. Whether or not the areas that FEMA says they do actually flood, I don’t know, but for our lenders and for Dollar General’s purposes, we can’t build in anything that is an A, A EX, whatever it is, they just won’t let us do it.” So, location options are limited.
Bindley said his client would “continue to follow procedure” and hear what the council has to say about the rezoning.
Mason said when the issue goes before council Dec. 10, “(Council members) will then set a public hearing to consider the amendment request. They have 45 days to set the hearing and then 35 days from that to make a decision.”
“I have major concerns with any commercial business that would go in across the street from me,” said resident Tami Beckett who lives across US 40 from the proposed Dollar General site. She said children play in the area and traffic is bad. “I feel like you’re inviting crime into the neighborhood,” Beckett said, concerned that commercial development would entice prowlers into an otherwise residential area such prowlers would usually ignore. “I’ve spoken with many people who don’t want a Dollar General there,” she said.
Resident Connie Keiffer, a retiree who lives next door to the proposed site, said she would be looking at a Dollar General from her back patio. “I intend to enjoy myself, enjoy my peace and quiet,” she said, adding that the project would contribute to drainage problems on her property as well as cause noise pollution. “I would not feel safe,” Keiffer said. “Please put yourself in our shoes.”