HERMITAGE — As Dollar General prepares to break ground for its fourth general-merchandise store in Hermitage, the city’s commissioners looked into whether they could limit chain stores from over-saturating the city.
After the commissioners’ review though, they decided to focus on building standards to encourage diversity in structural designs.
Speaking during the board’s work session Thursday evening, Commissioner Louis Squatrito raised the issue of an ordinance that could potentially limit certain stores in the city.
Squatrito said he’d heard from residents who wished for more variety in Hermitage, including more development in the mall or different restaurants, instead of the same establishments with multiple locations.
The board recently approved the land-development plan for the city’s fourth Dollar General, which will be built on the east side of South Hermitage Road, north of Longview Road. The board is required to approve the plan as long as it complies with the city’s ordinances.
Though he shared Squatrito’s concerns regarding the number of Dollar General stores in Hermitage, Commissioner William McConnell said he feels that it is ultimately up to the market to decide whether a business fails or succeeds.
Board Vice President William Moder agreed.
Board President Duane Piccirilli said he didn’t necessarily agree with placing a limit on certain businesses since he didn’t think it was the role of the board to pick and choose businesses.
Instead, Piccirilli suggested updating some of the city’s building design standards after Squatrito and McConnell had both pressed for a more aesthetically pleasing design for the most recent Dollar General. Otherwise, the planned Dollar General would have had a design more typical of its other stores.
Commissioners Squatrito and Michael Muha previously served on a committee with other city officials to develop a series of building design standards specifically for the city center district.
Ultimately the board decided to update the existing building design standards, which would still allow new businesses but require the best possible building designs. Squatrito cited the Sheetz convenience store and Walgreens drug store in the commercial area of Hermitage as examples of businesses that a range of designs.
However, the issue of building design standards was not the only standard the commissioners discussed Thursday.
Another complaint Squatrito received from local residents was the issue of snow fences, or leaf fences, which are meant to be used temporarily depending on the season.
He said a few property owners in the city were using the fences as permanent fencing around their homes, and it doesn’t look as good as a traditional fence.
“I drove out to every single one of those houses using those fences, and they looked terrible,” Squatrito said.
Muha said he’d seen residents use such fencing for smaller gardens or as frames for certain vegetables, but agreed the snow fencing should not be used as a border around someone’s property.
After some discussion among the commissioners, city Manager Gary Hinkson said the city staff could look into similar ordinances implemented by other municipalities and have some information available for the commissioners at a future board meeting.
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