Dollar story: Dollar General application still in limbo

The proposed location of a Dollar General store east of the driving range on Route 44 in Millerton.

John Coston

Dollar story: Dollar General application still in limbo

NORTH EAST — The status of the application to build a Dollar General store on Route 44 next to The Talk of the Towne in the Town of North East remains unclear.

To date, Lorna Sherman, bookkeeper and budget officer in the Town of North East, confirmed that the Dollar General application has not been withdrawn, and remains open but inactive.

During the July 12, 2023, meeting of the North East Planning Board, Robert Trotta, the applicant, was asked to place $4,000 in escrow to cover legal fees and the expenses of the town planner, Will Agresta, “to see if the plan as it stands is worthy of going forward,” according to minutes from the meeting.

In August and September, deductions were made to the account totaling $1,312.50, and Agresta provided the applicant with a memo identifying the deficiencies in the site plan as presented.

There has been no further communication from Trotta with the Town, but neither has there been a request for refunding the fee.

The plan as it stands is to build a store on Route 44 on the 2.7-acre empty lot now occupied by the driving range next to the Talk of the Towne and Trotta’s Liquors store, all owned by Trotta. The building would be 12,000 square feet with parking for 40 cars. Inside, 3,000 square feet would be devoted to fresh produce.

During the North East Planning Board meeting July 12, 2023, Chairman Dale Culver observed that “This particular type of store might undercut the future plans for development.”

Recently, Culver explained to The Millerton News his reason for making the comment: “This was the elephant in the room. Everyone felt the same way but no one wanted to say anything.”

The Town Board met Sept. 14, 2023, and rejected the idea of a six-month moratorium requested by the Zoning Review Committee (ZRC) for accepting new applications for development on Route 44.

Town Supervisor Christopher Kennan said at the time: “The difficulty that I have with this is that there is an application in front of the Planning Board for which a fee has already been received, and it is the only application in front of the Planning Board on the boulevard for this, so this strikes me as being very much targeted at one particular application.”

Warren Replansky, town attorney, has commented, “It may not be right to issue a moratorium [...] until we know more about where the committee is in the process.”

Since September last year, no moratorium has been enacted, Trotta has not come back to the board with any modifications for the proposed Dollar General Store, and the ZRC has not drafted final commercial zoning regulations.

The original version of this story ran with an inaccurate headline. The application is with the North East Planning Board and not with the town’s Zoning Review Committee.

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