Thursday February 14, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

ARLINGTON -- A Dollar General approved by town regulators but not well received by citizens is now seeking approval from the state to tear down and build over the former Arlington Plaza off Route 7.

The application documents were filed with the District 8 Environmental Commission on Feb. 1, according to the Agency of Natural Resource's Act 250 online database. Act 250 is the state's land use law and applies to commercial properties over 10 acres. The application was listed as minor, meaning that unless a public hearing is requested by an adjacent property owner or recognized party, one will not be held.

The project would call for the demolition of the former Arlington's Southside Cafe, which closed last year and was the last business to occupy the structure listed in town records as "Arlington Plaza." The building is owned by Bryan Pello.

The listed applicant for the Act 250 permit is Dearborn Land Investment LLC, however it was Zaremba Group that handled Dollar General's municipal permit application.

According to the Act 250 application, the new Dollar General would be a 9,100-square-foot building on a 3.5-acre property. Store hours would be from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The closet Dollar General is in Pownal, and according to drawings show to the Arlington Development Review Board in December by Gary Biales, executive director for Zaremba Group, the proposed building follows a different design scheme.


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The building in Pownal is Dollar General's basic design -- a box-shaped building with an internally lit yellow sign with black letters.

The building Biales showed had a peaked roof and the sign, while yellow with black letters, was externally lit. The building described in the Act 250 application mirrors the one approved by the town.

"Given the fact that this is an existing developed site which previously experienced restaurant-type vehicle traffic and given the design and the building materials described, the Project will not have an adverse effect on the scenic or natural beauty or aesthetics of the area," according to the application.

The application contained letters from the Arlington Fire Department, Vermont State Police, and Arlington Rescue Squad. Police and rescue said it the project will not affect them and the fire department only commented that a fire lane should be kept clear however no new water tanks or supply sources would be needed.

Zaremba Group had informed the DRB of its intention to file a permit in November. That meeting drew a crowd and the feedback was largely negative. Biales said at the meeting that the public's thoughts would be incorporated into the final design proposal, which at the hearing in December drew only slightly less criticism. Some citizens made it clear that no matter what the building is planned to look like, they did not want Dollar General in Arlington.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr