A tractor-trailer delivers dairy products to the Dollar General in Fair Haven on May 30. Photo courtesy of Concerned Citizens of Poultney.
Vermont Business Magazine The Poultney Development Review Board has denied an application by Poultney Properties, LLC, to develop a Dollar General store on a property on Beaman Street in Poultney village. The June 28 decision came in the wake of three well-attended public hearings at which proponents of the plan responded to questions and misgivings from a range of local residents opposing the proposal.
Poultney Properties, whose principal is Leonard Knappmiller of Rutland Town, filed three applications for zoning permits for the property in February. Two of those applications, for light-industrial establishments on the parcel, passed muster with the Review Board, which decided, however, that the retail use by Dollar General would create a mixture of uses not recognized in the town's zoning bylaws. The board also emphasized the impact the store would have on the surrounding neighborhood, which is largely residential.
The 1.76-acre parcel includes four buildings and is the site of a former machine shop. The Dollar General would occupy about 10,000 square feet in the largest of the four buildings, as a tenant of Poultney Properties. The retail chain itself is not a party to the Poultney proceedings.
The application awakened protests from both owners of abutting residential properties and an ad hoc group, Concerned Citizens of Poultney, which gathered over 500 signatures from local residents stating that they would not patronize the store.
Dollar General currently operates outlets in Fair Haven; Whitehall, NY.; and Granville, NY, all within about 10 miles of Poultney. The chain is headquartered in Tennessee and, according to its website, has more than 12,500 retail stores across the country.
In May the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets announced that it had fined Vermont Dollar Generals more than $210,000 since 2013 for pricing inaccuracies.
“Whatever one thinks of the Dollar General chain, the underlying message I repeatedly heard from the developer at the hearings was, Poultney is a down-and-out town that can't do better with this property. That message doesn't jibe with what I know of my town,” said Steve Fesmire, a member of the Concerned Citizens group.
In a press release, the group said it considered an appeal by Poultney Properties likely. The Vermont Superior Court's Environmental Division would hear that appeal, which must be filed by July 28. VBM vermontbiz.com