Girard council OKs zoning changes for new Dollar General

By Sarah Lehr


City council approved a set of zoning changes that will make way for a new Dollar General.

The store, at 520 Church Hill-Hubbard Road, will replace a Dollar General on the other side of Church Hill-Hubbard, also known as state Route 304.

Representatives from Birmingham, Ala.-based development companies Capital Growth, Buchalter Inc. and CGP Acquisition and Development LLC say the upcoming Dollar General location will be larger, with an expanded foods section.

Council voted 5-2 Monday night to grant the developers’ request and rezone five parcels from residential to business district. Councilman-at-large Joseph Shelby and Councilman Thomas Grumley, D-4th voted against the changes.

Shelby said he supports commerce in the city, but believes the focus should be on attracting businesses to the downtown business district.

The developers first approached the city last year, but were rebuffed in December when city council voted 7-0 against zoning changes.

Since then, the developers have made aesthetic changes to their building plans at council’s request. Additionally, the area that has been rezoned is smaller than the area the developers originally requested, said Councilman Keith Schubert, D-3rd.

“It’s going to be one of the nicest Dollar Generals I’ve seen,” said Schubert, chairman of council’s zoning committee. “It’s a tremendous upgrade to an area that’s depressed.”

In other business, council gave an initial reading to an ordinance that would regulate medical-marijuana businesses within city limits. Council typically votes on final passage of legislation after three readings, and council may amend the ordinance before the final reading.

The proposed rules would subject medical-marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensaries to city inspections. Additionally, after being granted a provisional license from Ohio, the businesses would need to apply for an additional license from Girard. The city would charge a $500 application fee, along with a $5,000 fee to renew the local license every two years.

Councilman-at-large John Moliterno said, so far, no medical-marijuana companies have reached out to Girard officials about setting up shop in the city.

Law Director Brian Kren said the current draft of the ordinance could drive medical-marijuana businesses out of the city because the companies would choose nearby communities that don’t charge licensing fees.

Medical marijuana became legal in Ohio last year, but municipalities and townships have the option to limit or ban medical-marijuana businesses within their communities.

The state’s program to regulate and distribute medical marijuana will be fully operational by September 2018.

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