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January 18, 2018 - 4:35pm

Developer of Dollar General in East Pembroke says he will swap parking for a new sidewalk

posted by Howard B. Owens in east pembroke, batavia, news, land use.

img_1590dollargen.jpg

The developer of a proposed Dollar General Store in East Pembroke was willing to do a little trading with the Town of Batavia Planning Board on Tuesday night.

If the town will let him reduce the number of parking spaces from 47 to something closer to 30 he would ensure there is a sidewalk installed along Route 5 in front of the store.

"I would be more than willing to remove the parking spaces, whether it gets down to 30 or some number down there that makes sense based on the layout," said Todd Hamula of the Zaremba Group. "Then I'd stripe across here to a sidewalk that I would build either on the property or just in the DOT right of way."

Quickly, plans were made then for Hamula to rework is the site plan and get it before the County Planning Board again -- which last week recommended a sidewalk be included in the project -- and then in front of the town's Zoning Board of Appeals before coming back to the town planning board again in a month.

The ZBA would need to approve a variance for the reduced parking because the current zoning code requires a building of the type and size of the proposed Dollar General to have at least 47 parking spaces.

Hamula said that anybody who has frequently driven past a Dollar General knows there's usually only an average of five or six cars parked out front most of the time.

The Town of Batavia is in the process of reworking its comprehensive plan and adopting a planning philosophy known as form-based code. 

One of the goals of the process is to make East Pembroke a more walkable community, which means sidewalks are needed.

Paul McCullough, board member and East Pembroke resident, spoke up in favor of making the hamlet more walkable and argued in favor of a sidewalk installed with the construction of the Dollar General.

He expressed concern that the presence of the store would cause people to walk on Route 5, which is busy with fast moving traffic and isn't well lit at night.

"Let's at least get that section in and then figure out how to get that extra 100 feet in," McCullough said.

At that point, Hamula said he was amenable to working something out.

The store will be 7,100 square feet and will become the seventh Dollar General in Genesee County.

McCullough said in his informal survey of East Pembroke residents, people are excited about the potential of the store opening.

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