Dollar General: Public Hearing postponed to May 9
KINGFIELD — The Kingfield Planning Board met April 11 to review questions about the Dollar General permit application. Board member Richard Hawkes was not at the March 21 meeting at which the board accepted the application from Franklin Land Associates LLC, parent company of developer GBT Realty Corporation. A Public Hearing had been set for the April 11 meeting but the developer postponed the hearing until May 9.
Hawkes asked if the developer assumed a waiver would be given for the project. Kingfield Zoning Ordinance requires one parking spot for every 150 square feet of facility and one for every employee. The 9,100 square foot retail store would require 64 parking spots. The developer has requested a waiver to cut the number of spots to 30. The application is written for 30 spots.
Code Enforcement Officer Tom Marcotte stated, “Maine is dealing with a parking standard that was developed in the 60s for the west coast. The state would like to see less asphalt.”
Hawkes stated he was not opposed to the parking but would like to see data from the developer that supported fewer spots. “I don’t think we’ve gotten that data. I’ve been to Tranten’s, Jordan’s and Anni’s. We don’t have that kind of parking anywhere,” stated Hawkes.
Chairman Clay Tranten said, “Yes, they have asked for a waiver. We have not given it to them yet.” Tranten explained earlier that waivers were commonly issued by the board for a variety of reasons on both commercial and residential properties.
Hawkes asked about the differences in the conceptual drawing and the plans. “The rendering shows a farmer’s porch on the front but on the plans, it is not in the plans,” he noted.
Marcotte stated, “A conceptual drawing is just that: a concept. You might not ever see that building. That is just to give you an idea. It’s an artist’s rendering, a pretty picture. It is not a construction plan. What you and the developers work out is what it is going to look like.” Tranten noted the board would have a final picture to review prior to voting.
Tranten stated he had been asked about a moratorium to make time to review the ordinances. He stated, “It is too late to change the rules in the middle of the process. Our ordinances handled a $63 million project (Poland Spring); it is good enough to handle a $1 million project. There is one sentence in the Comprehensive Plan that says something about ‘big box stores’ but that is it.”
Marcotte pointed out a Comprehensive Plan is nothing more than suggestions and dreams for the future. “It isn’t the rule. The Ordinance is the rule,” he said. Marcotte also stated he felt “big box” meant size but the public thinks it means “chain store.”
“A chain is multiple locations,” stated Tranten. “Then I am a chain.” His family owns Tranten’s Market with locations in Kingfield and Farmington. “What about franchises? Jordan’s is ACE Hardware, Tranten’s Too is Irving’s, and Anni’s is Kinko. You can’t treat them different than how you’ve treated someone before,” he said.
Tranten went on to explain the process in making changes to the Zoning Ordinance. “Going forward, if citizens brought a petition to the selectmen to change the ordinances, the selectmen would appoint a committee, take it to a Public Hearing, then a lawyer would review it and when we got the okay, voters would decide whether to accept changes.”
A Public Hearing regarding the application will be held May 9 at 6 p.m. at Webster Hall. The Planning Board meeting will follow the hearing.