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2013-11-28

Negotiations begin for Dollar General on Main

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: Here's a peek at what's coming to the 700 block of Bandera's Main Street.




Clacking of beaks, flapping of wings and stamping of feet were evident on Tuesday, Nov. 19, when members of the City of Bandera Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) began negotiations for a Dollar General store slated for a portion of a large vacant lot on Main Street.
The idea is that the corporation or franchiser sends plans for the store to the city and, after a review, the city - in the form of P&Z - adds suggestions and recommendations and returns the plans to corporate headquarters or to the franchiser to await a second round of wheeling and dealing.
Developer Al Rajabi, who failed to bring a Best Western hotel to Bandera, sold a portion of the large city lot to the Dollar General corporation after a proposed Whataburger fell through.
The first item addressed on Nov. 19 by Chairman Tony Battle et al was the store's location on the lot. Preliminary plans called for a majority of parking in front of the building.
However, P&Z reached a consensus that the building should be moved forward toward the highway with most parking relegated to behind the structure. This would allow for a certain amount of head-in parking which is the norm on Main Street. "We want to keep business on Main Street uniform," said City Administrator Mike Cardenas.
Also, it was generally agreed that the building could use a better western design in keeping with recommendations in the city's master plan. P&Z also would like to extend the western motif to both sides of the stand-alone building, not just the front facade facing Main Street. "People on Cherry Street deserve better than [a metal building]," Battle said.
According to Battle, the proposed western look seemed to be southwestern, more suitable to New Mexico or Arizona, rather than the Cowboy Capital of the World. "It could still be done with a metal building, but clad in a different way. The architect needs to get more creative," Battle said.
When Vice Chairman Jason Williams suggested that stonework be added to the facade, Battle rejoined that developers are "mindful of cost." He added that while having a Dollar General on Main Street "might not be the ideal," it would be acceptable "as long as it looks western and creates business."
Phillip LaBarre said that an awning placed along the front of the store could create a western ambiance in addition to stone or stucco and wood facade.
It was also noted that new construction within the city should come with a mandate to provide ADA-accessible sidewalks, which is a requirement in San Antonio. In this case the sidewalks should be five-feet wide as opposed to the proposed four feet.
Additionally, at 64 square feet, the proposed free-standing sign and at 140 square feet, the sign on the front of the building, are, of course, larger than allowed by the current sign ordinance. However, LaBarre felt the current signs were "close enough to make it work."
Additionally, drainage from the developed property must meet the requirements of the city, Cardenas said. In this case, even with more impervious cover, the run-off must be no more than occured off the property in its undeveloped state. City engineer Rudy Klein uses calculations to determine an acceptable amount of drainage, Cardenas said.
"Dollar General has submitted a new drainage plan to the city engineer," Cardenas said, "but I haven't reviewed it yet."
When the discussions concluded, members of P&Z recommended that Dollar General developers:
• Be required to adhere to the five-foot setback requirement in keeping with existing construction on Main Street.
• Extend a western motif to three sides of the building, rather than just the fašade facing Main Street.
• Design signage with a "western flair," using colors recommended by the master plan. Additionally, all signage must comply with the city sign ordinance.
• Provide all information requested by Klein, including an approved Texas Department of Transportation permit and drainage requirements.
• Replat the property to remove a small parcel that had previously been carved out for an off-premises digital sign.
• Construct ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant sidewalks.

Cardenas would forward the P&Z recommendations to representatives of Dollar General, along with a copy of the city's sign ordinance.