October 7, 2013

Merced City Council OKs Family Dollar

Merced could have a Family Dollar store by summer.

Merced could have a Family Dollar store by summer.

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved the rezoning of two parcels of land near East 21st Street and Yosemite Parkway. Developers expect to begin building a Family Dollar on the land in December.

One parcel of land was zoned as high-medium residential and the other was commercial office space.

According to the plans, the building is set to be 9,180 square feet and the tallest portion more than 30 feet.

City officials do not believe increased traffic caused by shoppers will have a huge impact on residences.

Based on Institute of Transportation Engineers formulas, an average of 525 daily trips are estimated in the development area and 46 trips during peak hours of 4 to 6 p.m. Those are not high numbers, according to David Gonzalves, director of Development Services for the city of Merced.

“We’re quite pleased with the outcome of that,” Gonzalves said.

The store will be adjacent to a neighborhood. A 7-foot wall will separate the building from the homes.

Councilman Mike Murphy questioned whether the project needed 500 square feet of signage, 21/2 times more than the original plan called for. He voiced some reservations about large signs but ultimately voted for the project.

“There’s never a perfect project,” Murphy said. “I think we make it work.”

The developer plans two ground-level signs of 10 feet by 5 feet at each driveway.

The developer did not ask for a liquor license.

Councilwoman Mary-Michal Rawling asked if the council could require that delivery trucks exit and turn right on Yosemite Parkway instead of a left turn across traffic.

“I want to make sure that the trucks are not going to be going through the neighborhoods,” she said.

That kind of restriction was not possible, according to City Attorney Greg Diaz.

Family Dollar opened in 1959 in North Carolina as a discount store for low- to middle-class neighborhoods. Family Dollar has more than 7,100 outlets across the country and sells items ranging from food to toys, bedding and personal hygiene items. It is not a store in which all items sell for a dollar or less.

The project shows that the southeast part of town is starting to see interest from developers, Rawling said.

“I actually think this is a really good example of a project that’s in the right place,” she said.

Mayor Stan Thurston said the project will make good use of mostly unused land.

“This will increase the property tax base significantly,” he said.

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