Dollar Gets No Change - Toby Board Nixes Variance
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
TOBYHANNA – Dollar General’s quest to build an almost 9200 square foot retail store on vacant land near the former Edelweiss restaurant on route 940 suffered a set back at the Tobyhanna Zoning Hearing Board.
The hearing board conducted a special hearing to consider the application of Edelweiss Estates, LLC for relief from the parking requirement imposed by local ordinances.
The over three-acre property for the proposed 9,170-square foot retail store is located on the northwesterly side of route 940, approximately 100 feet west of Sherwood Drive. The developers sought permission for thirty parking spots, 19 fewer than required by the township land development ordinance.
Justin Ross, of LIVIC Civil, the engineering firm representing the developer, put on evidence that, due to unique site characteristics, there would not be room for more than the thirty parking areas in their plans. They also submitted evidence that Dollar General retail stores have a high turnover of customers, who do not spend long periods in the store. Historically, they told the board, this means that Dollar General stores of this type do not use even the reduced number of parking spots the applicant sought.
A number of community members appeared at the online hearing in opposition to the application. Kathleen Peterson, a neighbor of the project, expressed concerns that the development would create an obstructed view for drivers turning off Sherwood onto route 940.
Ross pointed out that those issues, which the developer intended to address, were evaluated at a later stage in the development and were not germane to the parking variance being requested. Peterson also questioned the need for another Dollar General, with an existing store less than two miles from the proposed spot of the new outlet.
Kara Clydesdale also spoke in opposition to the application. Clydesdale’s home and farm are next to the proposed lot, on the opposite side of Sherwood Road.
Clydesdale said that the location was a “dangerous blind curve on a road with consistently heavy traffic.” She said that there were three accidents at the spot in the last year. She was also concerned on the impact of the development noise and other disturbances would have on the many animals cared for on her farm. Clydesdale told the board that had 992 signatures on a petition opposing the development.
A number of the petition signers included comments, the majority of which echoed the statements of Clydesdale and Petersen, After retiring for deliberations, the board returned to unanimously deny the variance. There is no word as to whether the applicant intends to appeal the decision.