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Councilman concerned with location of Dollar General store in Jamestown

Dollar General requested a change in zoning to a local commercial district to construct a new retail store in Jamestown.

Dollar General Site 10122022.jpg
Dollar General plans to construct a store in the area east of 4th Avenue Northeast and south of the Legacy Living Center in Jamestown.
Masaki Ova / The Jamestown Sun file photo
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JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Building, Planning and Zoning Committee approved 4-1 to recommend introducing the first reading of an ordinance to amend the district map to change the zoning of a general multiple dwelling district to a local commercial district where Dollar General plans to locate at 424 4th Ave. NE.

Councilman Dan Buchanan was opposed at the meeting Tuesday, Oct. 25.

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Dollar General requested a change in zoning to a local commercial district to allow for the construction of a new retail store. The property affected is lot 1, block 1 of the Hope Apostlic Addition.

The Jamestown Planning Commission recommended approval on Oct. 10 to change the zoning to commercial where Dollar General plans to locate.

The zoning change is contingent on the removal of an access from 4th Avenue Northeast. If the zoning change is approved, the removal of the access would not apply to the next tenant of the lot.

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If the zoning is changed to a local commercial district, Buchanan said he is concerned about the Dollar General store being too close to Lincoln Elementary School and the Legacy Living Center. He said allowing the Dollar General store that close to the two facilities will increase traffic in the area.

Tom Blackmore, zoning administrator, said he sent protest notification letters to the surrounding property owners, which includes the Jamestown Public School District, and the city of Jamestown did not receive any written protests. The city also published when the public hearings would occur and nobody was present at the Jamestown Planning Commission meeting.

He said the property is also slated as a local commercial district in the 2015 Land Use and Transportation Plan.

“I know all of that,” Buchanan said. “I’m having some serious issues of the appropriateness of that kind of an establishment that close to the other two facilities and on connecting the two fairly busy streets. I have some real concerns that this has not really been thought through.”

Councilman David Steele said he was at the Planning Commission meeting on Oct. 10 when the commission recommended approval to change the zoning. He said his understanding is there won’t be much of an increase in traffic.

He also said Dollar General might have completed a study before it decided to put a store in the Jamestown location.

“It does provide some growth in that area and some infill for an open area that would help the community,” Steele said.

Buchanan asked why the area couldn’t be used to create more parking for staff at Lincoln Elementary School.

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Blackmore said a parking lot was created for staff north of the playground at Lincoln Elementary School.

Steele said the city of Jamestown could do a study to see what kind of impact the store will have on traffic in the area.

With the approval of the committee, the Jamestown City Council will read the first reading of the ordinance at its meeting Monday, Nov. 7.

In other business, the Public Works Committee unanimously recommended approval to promote Tyler Michel, an engineering technician, to public works director. The committee also unanimously approved the job description for the public works director position.

If the promotion is approved by the City Council, Michel will work under the general supervision of City Administrator Sarah Hellekson. Michel will provide direct supervision to engineering and public works personnel.

The public works director will do administrative and supervisory work in assisting the city administrator in directing the public works operation that includes the engineering, street, water, vector control, wastewater, sanitation and solid-waste departments.

Jay Sveum, deputy auditor/human resource officer, said the city of Jamestown is in need of a public works director.

“Without a full-time city engineer on staff, we depend on Interstate (Engineering) to do a lot of our work in the engineering field, but it’s really nice to have some go-to person in City Hall too for not only the general public but our department heads,” he said. “I think this is a great move for the city of Jamestown.”

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Sveum said the demands of all of the city positions have increased drastically over the years. He said the city has expanded outward and staff has a lot more job areas to cover.

Having a public works director will also allow Hellekson to do her duties as the city auditor as well as being an administrator over all of the public works departments.

“I believe by hiring a public works director, our city administrator is able to focus a lot more on the finance side of things,” Sveum said.

Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said the city of Jamestown is very fortunate to promote Michel to the position.

“I think it will be a great thing for the city and for all the staff in those departments,” he said.

With the promotion, Michel’s salary would increase to about $6,500 per month.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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