DUNEDIN –The first steps have been approved to bring a new Dollar General store to 1260 Belcher Road. The Dunedin City Commission unanimously approved the preliminary concept plan at its Oct. 4 meeting.
The current property has a vacant Bank of America on the property that will be torn down when Dollar General proceeds with its plans. Greg Rice, city planning and development director, said that all the initial factors have been approved to go forward with the plan. It meets the minimum of one acre lot size and is consistent with all regulations. The zoning would be commercial parkway, and the land use would be commercial general. The stormwater retention area is deemed okay, and it is a Zone X floodwater area, which means that it is not in a floodplain.
As far as traffic impact, the level of service is ranked a B, which Rice said is good. At the peak hour of traffic, the allowed limit of trips is 3,390, he said. The actual trips at peak hour now on the road are 2,156, leaving an available 1,234 trips at peak hours of travel. The Dollar General is only estimated to add an additional 191 peak trips.
Belcher Road has limited truck route hours, but it would not be a problem getting the estimated one delivery truck a week to the store, Rice said. The route would go from north to south down Belcher Road and enter the south side of the store to the loading area and then back up on Betty Drive and exit going north on Belcher.
“The developer has agreed to not only repave Betty Drive but actually reconstruct it all the way from the base up,” Rice said. “And if you’ve ever been on that section of Betty Drive, it is very rough. So that is a good thing. It is owned by the condo association to the north, but there is an easement on that parcel so that others can use it. … My understanding is that it’s been difficult for (the condo association) to raise the money to either reconstruct or repave that. There is an access easement on that parcel to the south so with this development proposal, the development would pay to reconstruct that, which would obviously help their trucks but it also would make a much smoother road for the folks who live there as well.”
The developer has held a meeting with neighbors in the surrounding community, and he said they were open to the store coming to town and that no problems arose.
Rice said that the only issue is that the proposed design does not fit the city’s desired architectural guidelines. There are three primary styles of architecture that exist currently in Dunedin that the commission has deemed ideal, plus two more were added that go back to the styles in Dunedin’s history when it was a seaport, Rice said. However, only one of the five styles fits for commercial purposes, and that is the Mediterranean revival style.
“It’s I think a little bit difficult for some of these places like General Dollar to have a Mediterranean revival style,” Rice said. “So what we would like to come back to you with is to look at where we want to go with S.R. 580, Patricia and Douglas and maybe expand these styles a little bit, and maybe if we are constrained with national chains with some type of prototype, maybe we could look at not necessarily forcing new architecture but maybe some façade upgrades.”