Cross Development, a real estate consultant for Dollar General, has requested approval to build a second store in Paulding on the north side of the village. A photo depicting a store similar to the proposed 10,640-square-foot building (above) was distributed at the Feb. 22 Paulding Village Council meeting. (Photo/submitted)

PAULDING – No objections to a second Dollar General store in Paulding were voiced at a public hearing held Tuesday, March 15.

Paulding Village Council scheduled the meeting as part of the zoning approval process.

Cross Development wants to construct a new Dollar General on a vacant lot at 1071 N. Williams St. (U.S. 127) on the north edge of town. The 1.194-acre property is next to Chief Supermarket and the shopping plaza.

The planning commission approved the application and forwarded it to council. The procedure requires council to hold a public hearing to gather input from the community.

Nine people attended the hearing, including Andrew Zofkie from Cross Development and zoning inspector Ron Schmidt.

After Schmidt explained the project and the approval process, Mayor Greg White opened the floor for comments and questions.

No one objected to the new store. The majority of comments were complaints about the existing store on the south edge of town.

Schmidt asked if a new building would be better kept and maintained. Zofkie responded, “I think just the newness of the store will make all the difference. This is a brand-new prototype that they have. It’s a little bit larger store than the exiting store. Brand-new LED lights. It’s their newest design. … A brand-new, fresh store.”

Councilman David Burtch noted the police chief told him officers cite the existing store an average of five times a year, every year, for nuisances such as weeds, tall grass and trash. Mayor White said they are “not going to leave it dirty and filthy outside anymore.”

Brian Shuherk had just visited the store and noticed torn and soggy cardboard boxes, a rug and a broken sign post outside. Sometimes there’s broken shopping carts outside. “There’s no curb appeal whatsoever,” Shuherk said. “That’s the first thing people see coming from the south into this town.”

Zofkie said plans for the new 10,640-square-foot building call for a full wooden fence enclosure around the loading and dumpster area to shield the view.

The new building will have a separate driveway for entrance and exit. There will be no access from the adjacent shopping plaza parking lot.

Zofkie said the site elevation will remain close to the current level. A stormwater retention pond will be built at the back.

A question was asked if and how ownership will be different between the old and new buildings. Zofkie said the existing store is corporate owned and operated, which is fairly unique. The new facility will be owned by Cross Development and leased to Dollar General.

Several people, including some village officials, expressed hope that a new building will be better kept.

“The last thing I want is another eyesore coming into town,” Logan Gross commented. “[If] you have an eyesore coming in, you have it less likely for a business to come into town, people to stay here, people to shop here. You need to keep that aesthetic going. … You want a vacant property to be developed, you want a business to come in, you want money in the community, but you also want the image of the community to get better.”

The mayor pointed out to Zofkie that under the village’s statutes, any junk violation citations and fines are against the property owner — not the tenant.

Council is expected to vote on whether to approve the new Dollar General store at its next meeting March 21.