×

Youngstown leaders call for 1-year ban on new dollar stores

Staff photo / Daniel Newman ... Jose Martinez, an East Side Youngstown resident, handles a cart before heading into Dollar General at 1504 Oak St. in Youngstown. A city council committee heard a request from the administration Monday to place a one-year moratorium on opening new or expanding existing dollar stores, used car lots, gas stations and auto mechanic businesses in Youngstown.

YOUNGSTOWN — A city council committee heard a request from the administration to place a one-year moratorium on opening new or expanding existing dollar stores, used car lots, gas stations and auto mechanic businesses in Youngstown.

After the request, council’s zoning committee Monday asked the city law department to look into the legalities of a moratorium and to have work sessions on the issues starting with dollar stores. The first work session is planned for April 11.

“The dollar stores are opportunistic,” said Councilwoman Samantha Turner, D-3rd Ward and head of the zoning committee. “We’ll begin by reviewing dollar store moratoriums in other communities.”

“Dollar stores are coming into the city at a rapid pace, and there are issues with the overall cleanliness and the food offerings,” she said.

Nikki Posterli, director of the city’s community planning and economic development department, said, “We’re trying to build up and establish our small businesses, but we also want big box stores. The saturation of dollar stores makes businesses wait. We just want to say, ‘Let’s slow down and see where we are. Does it makes sense for our community?'”

Twenty-four dollar stores – Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree – are in the city, according to a map provided by Posterli.

“There are too many and they’re too saturated in our community. They’re focused in the center of our most struggling areas, and nothing will come there if we allow them to grow there,” Posterli said. “We don’t want to saturate our community. We want opportunities for growth and more healthy food options.”

But Councilman Jimmy Hughes, D-2nd Ward and a zoning committee member, said a moratorium on dollar stores isn’t needed.

“We have some issues, but it’s all we have in some neighborhoods,” he said. “Right now, that’s what we have. They can say it stops other development, but that’s all we have.”

The problem with some auto mechanic businesses is illegal stacking and dumping of used tires, Turner said, “Car lots and car mechanics have sets of rules and regulations. We need to make sure they are being compliant and respectful. Also, some are not following car storage rules.”

As for gas stations, Turner said she is concerned about underground storage tanks. “We have 26 gas stations operating in the city. One site can take $200,000 to clean up. We want to look at it.”

The administration requested — and the zoning committee agreed — to an examination of the city’s redevelopment code last updated in 2013.

“A lot has changed since then,” Turner said.

Hunter Morrison, the city’s planning consultant, said most of the zoning issues are along the city’s corridors.

Have an interesting story? Contact David Skolnick by email at dskolnick@vindy.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @dskolnick

NEWSLETTER

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
   

Starting at $4.85/week.

Subscribe Today