Proposed Dollar General granted Act 250 permit

ARLINGTON -- A proposed Dollar General store that caused concern among area residents now has all the permits it needs and will likely be built this spring.

After receiving town permits in December, Dearborn Land Investments, a company representing Dollar General, filed for an Act 250 permit in February. Warren Foster, Act 250 district coordinator, said no public hearing was requested for the project and so none was held. The decision approving it was issued on April 1.

The store is set to be built on Route 7A where the Arlington's Southside Café stands as part of "Arlington Plaza." That building will be demolished and replaced with a 9,100-square foot building.

Christopher Ponessi, an engineer with Speath Engineering, which designed the project, said the Act 250 permit differs little from the permit approved by the town. He said the state imposed more landscaping work to better shield the property from view and required the brightness, but not the height, of the business's lights to be lowered.

Ponessi said within the next 45 days, construction bids will be sought for the project. Once a proposal is accepted, construction would begin within three or four months.

Because the project is considered minor by the District 8 Environmental Commission, the body that oversaw the Act 250 application, the decision cannot be appealed, said Ponessi.

The property itself is owned by Bryan Pello. At a Planning Commission meeting, Gary Biales, of Zaremba Group, the company that prepared the permit applications, said once the permits are in place Dollar General will purchase the building from Pello. He said typically Dollar General leases buildings and this would be one of the rare company-owned stores.

Residents were initially highly skeptical of Zaremba Group's proposal for the building. Most disliked the appearance of the building while some others took issue with Dollar General as a company and wanted a moratorium passed by the Select Board that would have delayed the project. Zaremba Group unveiled its plans informally to the Planning Commission at a public meeting requesting feedback which it incorporated into the final design. Residents found the design to be an improvement but many made it clear they still did not want Dollar General in town.

According to the application the store will be built on a 3.5 acre property and will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The building deviates from the typical "box design" of the standard Dollar General and features a peaked roof, among other design points.

The project application included letters from local police, fire, and rescue services saying its addition to the landscape would not affect them.

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


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