On March 11, the Wiscasset Planning Board held a public hearing and voted to approve the Dollar General project, to be sited at the former location of Huber’s Market at 279 Main St. Matt Casey, developer for Zareba Program Development LLC, and Chris Meadow, of Nobis Group Engineering, fielded questions during the hearing and from the board. Before the hearing, the board elected Karl Olson chair after the resignation of Ray Soule. Olson recommended electing a vice chair as he travels. Jason Putnam was elected vice chair.
Casey opened the hearing by saying the building would be razed to make way for the new 9,100 square foot one. Dollar General will share a driveway with Ship’s Chow Hall, the diner next door. Casey said lighting would be on from a half hour before the store opened to a half hour after closing, and the store would be open seven days per week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., although the hours might be lowered if traffic did not warrant staying open that late.
The store is expected to provide eight to 12 jobs, two to three of those being full time and benefited. Some seasonal jobs would be available during the holidays.
“Rather than thinking of this as an “everything for a dollar” store, it’s really more of a convenience store,” Casey said. He said 20-30 percent of the store would be groceries. One large truck delivery would be scheduled weekly, with small truck deliveries of items like milk and bread more frequently.
The project received a permit to fill about 10,000 square feet of wetland behind the site, and is still waiting for another Department of Environmental Protection permit for its storm water plan and a Department of Transportation permit for its driveway plan. The building was tailored to fit the neighborhood, according to Casey, with a brick facade and windows with awnings. The project is scheduled to break ground in June, with a completion in September or October.
Trees may be removed earlier, to prevent the nesting of North American long eared bats in spring and summer. Wastewater will be collected in a shallow, grassy pond area east of the building, surrounded by guardrails. The water will slowly be released to the wetland to the north.
About 4,000 yards of fill will be required to slowly lower the slope. Zareba asked for and received a waiver for slope work on the driveway.
The board asked that the narrowest part of the driveway be expanded by five feet, from 31 feet to 36 feet. The developer and engineer agreed. Then, the board voted the application complete and voted to approve the project.
Putnam was the only vote against. After the vote, he said he objected to the “homogenization of the town.” He said he would have preferred a local business take over the site, and would have preferred a grocery that offered fresh food. “I just object to the Dollar General model,” he said. “There is also a large residential area behind this site, and there could be issues of light pollution.” He said he also objected to the low number of benefited employees.