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Palm Coast Friday, Mar. 18, 2022 3 months ago

Planning board approves new Dollar General on U.S. 1

The store would be just under half a mile north of Whiteview Parkway.
by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

Two years ago, Palm Coast approved a 120-day moratorium on dollar stores. The city, at the time, had six of them. Now it's getting another: The city's planning board on March 16 approved a special exception application for a new Dollar General on U.S. 1.

The new Dollar General will include fresh produce, and will be larger than a typical Dollar General as a result, a representative of the developer said.

The board approved the new store 6-0, although one board member, Hung Hilton, expressed concern about whether the store could contribute to a "food desert" — an area where the kinds of fresh foods that aren't generally stocked at dollar stores become difficult to find.

"Something I remember, when they had this moratorium a few years ago, was talking about food deserts, and creating spaces where people — especially low-income, or with limited mobility — depend on prepackaged and processed foods in these kinds of stores because it's not convenient to get to a grocery store," Hilton said to city staff members at the March 16 meeting. "Are there any plans for other grocery stores or markets ... that would be nearby?"

The new Dollar General site, shown here in a planning board document, will be just north of the Alamo Self Storage facility.

A representative of developer HSC Palm Coast said that this Dollar General will include fresh produce, and that the store will be larger than a typical Dollar General as a result.

"The selection is one of the reasons why we chose to put that size store at this site, as there is no local grocery," said Linda Biro, of HSC. "So we'll have that offering."

The nearest existing grocery store with fresh food would be the Aldi on Palm Coast Parkway, about 3.5 miles away, Senior Planner Bill Hoover said.

The new Dollar General would be on the east side of the road just under half a mile north of Whiteview Parkway, and just north of the Alamo Self Storage facility. HSC Palm Coast is the same company responsible for the Dollar General on Matanzas Woods Parkway near its intersection with Belle Terre Parkway.

The new store would be 12,480 square feet, on a 3.5-acre parcel. Its size — under 16,000 square feet — places it under the purview of a Land Development Code amendment the City Council passed during the 120-day moratorium.

The amendment allows "small box discount stores" such as dollar stores within the city's commercial-2 and commercial-3 zoning districts, but requires that the developer complete a "special exception" application that must be reviewed by the Planning and Land Development Regulation Board if the store will be within 500 feet of residential property.

The new Dollar General will be within 500 feet of not-yet-developed land to its east that's zoned multifamily residential, Hoover said. But when wetlands are accounted for, he added, the new store is likely to be more than 500 feet from any actual future homes. 

"I think ... the special exception will work in this case," he said. "We've seen other sites where people have talked about putting one of these and it's surrounded by 100 homes within 500 feet, and it's really not too appropriate in that case."

City planner Estelle Lens said there would be a stormwater pond, some open space and wetlands between the Dollar General and the boundary line of the residential property to the east, which is expected to become a 256-unit three-story apartment complex called Aviara Palm Coast, on a 91-acre site.

A traffic study completed by the Dollar General's developer predicts that the new store would generate 55 p.m. peak-hour vehicle trips, 38 a.m. peak-hour trips, and 794 daily trips.

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