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Variance approved for Dollar General

Efforts to bring a Dollar General to Rice earned favor from the Prince Edward County Board of Zoning Appeals during its Tuesday meeting.

The board considered a request from Mary Yeatts to reduce the density requirements on the property, located at the intersection of Rice’s Depot Road and U.S. Route 460.

Yeatts, the property owner, sought permission to split the property into two parcels less than the required four acres.

Par 3 Development Group LLC (P3DG) wants to purchase the segment of the land at the intersection — 1.965 acres — for the purpose of building a Dollar General store.

All five board members approved Yeatts’ request unanimously.

According to county documents, the store would be about 7,200 square feet and have about 31 parking spaces.

Board of Supervisors Chairman and Lockett District Representative Robert M. “Bobby” Jones said the store would bring with it nine jobs, including three full-time positions and six part time.

Now that the board of zoning appeals has approved the density requirements reduction, the project will be considered by the county’s planning commission.

The property is zoned A1 as an Agricultural Conservation District, and, as stated in the zoning classification, requires a special use permit for retail sales.

A planning commission public hearing was originally scheduled for Jan. 17 but was rescheduled due to unanswered questions, according to County Planning and Zoning Administrator Rob Fowler.

That meeting has been rescheduled, tentatively, for Feb. 21. in the board of supervisors’ room of the courthouse.

The commission will submit a recommendation either in support of or opposition to the project to county board of supervisors, who have the final say on the permit application.

Supervisors could consider the project as soon as their March 14 regular meeting.

Along with the special use permit, supervisors and county planners can submit conditions for the project. Jones, during a community meeting in Rice, which drew residents in opposition to the project, explained this could mean inclusion of construction of buffers between the store and nearby homes.

Conditions could also include restrictions on tractor-trailers exiting left onto Rice’s Depot Road after making deliveries.

P3DG’s proposal includes an ingress/egress lane with a right-turn lane in addition to a truck loading and unloading area with a dumpster pad and includes buffer and parking lot landscaping and stormwater management practices.

“All measures will be taken to ensure safety and compatibility with adjacent and nearby properties,” the request states.

According to the request, nighttime-friendly lighting and cut-off shields would be used to eliminate light pollution.

Before a decision is made, planners and supervisors must hold separate public hearings.