PITTSFIELD -- Plans for a Dollar General store at Callahan Drive and West Housatonic Street have passed review by the Community Development Board -- as long as the developers meet façade, parking, screening and other project conditions set by the board.
Chairwoman Sheila Irvin told project representatives that concerns have been raised about the planned number of parking spaces -- 30, the impacts on traffic, and the design of the rectangular chain store.
Robert Gage of GBT Realty and William Goebel of Bohler Engineering of Southborough said efforts to "soften" the building's appearance, in Gage's words, include extensive natural screening beyond what initially was proposed, and an offer to use a clapboard façade on the 9,100-square-foot structure.
Gage said there would be 203 plantings -- three times the number initially proposed, including evergreens and shrubs. He also agreed to a façade design that must meet Community Development staff approval. Board members indicated a clapboard option for Dollar General stores might fit best with nearby buildings -- including the Fontaine's Auction Gallery across Callahan Drive from the 1.2-acre site.
Access to the corner parcel will be from the Callahan Drive side only.
Concerning parking, the men said that with nearly 11,000 stores in 25 states, Dollar General has determined that 30 spaces is more than the peak number required for a store of that size. Normally, 10 people visit the store at a given time and stay for about 10 minutes, Goebel said, and the average peak is 23 vehicles, including employee parking.
"You won't see those [spaces] filled up," he said.
City Planner C.J. Hoss said that from his research and from having once lived near a Dollar General, the parking spaces seem adequate. City zoning ordinance requires 66 spaces for a building of that size, but the board had leeway to reduce the number.
A resident of Lebanon Avenue raised concerns about large truck traffic. The project representatives said the company fills stock orders to individual stores weekly, sending a 75-foot tractor-trailer once per week, probably early Monday morning in this case, to each store. Unloading of stock will take about an hour and be done at the rear of the store.
The hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
The board voted unanimously to approve special permits for the project, subject to staff approval of the final building design, parking screening and other aspects of the plan. Signage will require additional permits.
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