Dollar General gets green light for Route 7 store in Ferrisburgh

FERRISBURGH — The Ferrisburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment has conditionally approved a plan for a 10,650-square-foot Dollar General store at the intersection of Monkton Road and Route 7. The site lies across the state highway from the new solar farm, and across Monkton Road from Denecker Chevrolet.
Conditions on the permit for the franchise store — which the applicant, Group Five Investments LLC of Burlington, said would sell a mix of hardware, clothing and groceries — included adding design elements to the metal building, moving its driveway, building a pedestrian path across its 9.9-acre lot from Route 7 to the store, and making landscaping and lighting changes.
The board in its Feb. 9 decision also requested Group Five to “monitor the traffic light on Route 7 with (Agency of Transportation) consultation to ease and traffic congestion.”
Zoning board chairwoman Charlene Stavenow said state transportation officials have already been responsive in recent months to local concerns about the timing of the light at the intersection. She said the light has already been set to stay green longer for traffic entering Route 7 from Monkton Road, and could be adjusted again.
The issue that involved the light and had concerned the zoning board was that traffic can back up at the light, blocking access to Reed Road on the north side of Monkton Road just east of Route 7.
That town road serves Denecker Chevrolet and a home, and both the dealership and homeowner said the problem could become worse if the Dollar General store was permitted and no adjustment was made.
The applicants also agreed to move their driveway — on the south side of Monkton Road — further east to ease the traffic crunch, and the zoning board added that agreement as a condition of approval.
The board also required the addition of “at least eight real or faux windows” on each of the north and south sides of the building to “alleviate (its) monolithic appearance.” The building’s west side will face the road, and the board required two windows on each side of its main entrance. The building will be set back at least 250 feet from Route 7.
Group Five had proposed one cupola along the 110-foot spine of its roof, and the zoning board required a second cupola, with even spacing between the two.
Group Five also requested a 147.5-square-foot sign. Zoning permits a 50-square-foot sign except with the board’s conditional approval; the board granted the applicants a 97.5-square-foot sign, but only above the main entrance with the provision that it be externally lit.
Group Five principal and landowner Joe Handy, reached Tuesday morning, said he had not had a chance yet to review the approval. Later attempts to reach Handy were unsuccessful by deadline.
Dollar General is a national chain with a number of franchises in Vermont, including in Richford, Barre, Colchester, Springfield, Lyndon and Milton, among other locations. Despite its name, it does not sell its goods for $1 apiece.
Handy earlier said he had a 10-year lease deal with a 10-year renewal option with the potential storeowner. Developers said they expected local consumers to shop at Dollar General instead of making trips to Chittenden County. They said the store would employ about a dozen and could add $600,000 to Ferrisburgh’s grand list,
Developers eventually hope to build two more stores on the 9.9-acre site, but last week’s approval covers only the Dollar General store.
Some had opposed the application, saying the store was too large for the site, was unattractive, and did not fit the character of the neighborhood.
Retail is conditionally permitted in the Highway Commercial zone in effect at the site, meaning the stores are permissible, but the zoning board may attach conditions to the permit.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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