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First stirrings of Dollar General on Main

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

The meeting of the Bandera Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday, Nov. 12 was short and short.

Just 10 minutes into the session, it was over - so much so that a special meeting has been called for Tuesday, Nov. 19, to take care of all agenda items that were tabled or postponed the week before.
Plans and schematics for a Family Dollar store planned for construction on the large vacant lot on Main Street are now available for review through December at the municipal building, 511 Main Street. Telephone is 830-796-3765.
In the absence of P&Z Chairman Tony Battle, Vice Chairman Jason Williams asked members to review the plans and submit suggestions.
Additionally, after conferring with Bandera Councilman Jim Hannah, county resident Robert Koimn had sent Battle an email, which Williams shared with the rest of P&Z. Among other suggestions, Koimn wanted to ensure that the proposed project would conform to the "character and ambiance" of adjacent properties.
At this writing, the adjacent properties include a convenience store and gas station, a vacant lot and an unrestored former dancehall. Across the street is a meat market and barbecue eatery in a former gas station, a Mexican restaurant in a former carwash and a tire shop.
Koimn also pointed out that the façade of the new Dollar General must conform to "hill-country western style" architecturally. In Article 4.04, Temporary and Seasonal Businesses, Section 4.04.001, Definitions, "western motif" is defined as "having an appearance that is consistent with a historical, Old West setting and which enhances the western, cowboy image of the city. Such appearance must be enduring in nature, as opposed to superficial or decorative, and shall be modeled on familiar, western vehicles or structures, including but not limited to chuck wagons, stagecoaches, covered wagons, teepees, carriages, bunk houses, saloons, forts, log cabins, and similar symbols of an American western frontier character."
In addition, a section of the City of Bandera Master Plan, which was approved by city council, notes that all buildings along Main Street should conform to the western image.
The Dollar General building must also, according to Koimn, "be situated on the property in a manner similar to the historical set-backs of the area buildings." He goes on, "The predominant 'normal' setback on adjacent properties is only head-in parking off the street as per all properties facing Main Street in the 700 and 800 blocks."
Koimn then suggests, "If there is no consideration for only head-in off-the-street parking in front of buildings on Main Street and other central business district properties in the parking ordinance - there should be." He recommends changing the parking ordinance to add this requirement.
In his email of Nov. 11, Koimn also appears to make it incumbent on developers of Dollar General to create a "connective" element between the businesses on North Main Street to those along the historical district in 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Main Street. For reference, Bandera Bank and Western Trail Antiques Mall are located in the 200 block and Shoe Biz and OST in the 300 block. Tripp's Appliance and Tire is located in the 400 block of Main Street.
According to city ordinances, the following areas have been designated historic districts:
• Both sides of Eleventh Street between Cypress and Cedar streets.
• Both sides of the highway right-of-way of Highway 173, within the city limits.
• Both sides of the highway right-of-way of Highway 16, within the city limits.
A historic district is defined as "an area which has outstanding historical significance to the nation, state or community within which the building, structures, accessory buildings, fences, or other appurtenances are of basic and vital importance for the development of culture and tourism because of their association with history."
Further discussions of the Dollar General were tabled until City Administrator Mike Cardenas and Engineer Rudy Kline could attend a P&Z meeting and answer questions about the project. The next regular P&Z meeting is presumably slated for Tuesday, Dec. 10.
In other business, the Main Street Sidewalks project, which could hopefully provide the elusive "connective element" between both ends of Main Street was also discussed. According to Cardenas, Battle and a representative of the Pape-Dawson Engineering, Inc. must make a presentation about the project to city council prior to going before the City of Bandera Economic Development Corporation, which will fund the project's nascent stages. City council will approve - or not - $12,000 worth of funding for the project from EDC coffers.
This item would most presumably be included on the Dec. 12 city council agenda - unless the meeting is cancelled as has happened in the past. In which case, the matter will be taken up after the New Year.