Chesterton Tribune



Dollar General hopes to break ground after Porter sign and site plan approvals

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Despite questions about traffic flow, Dollar General got the green light from Town of Porter zoning officials for a new 9,100 square-foot store at U.S. 20 and Waverly Road.

“The developer is very interested in breaking ground this year before the snow flies,” Mark Foster of Weaver Boos consultants told the Porter Board of Zoning Appeals on Dollar General’s behalf.

Both the BZA and the Porter Plan Commission unanimously approved aspects of the project Wednesday, the latter following a site-plan review.

Dollar General agreed to widen the east pavement on Waverly Road to match what adjacent Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland to the north will do in the future when it upgrades Waverly Road at U.S. 20.

Dollar General’s 2.1-acre parcel wraps around an existing fueling/convenience store at the immediate northeast corner of the intersection.

Town planner Jim Mandon originally wanted a right in/right out Dollar General road cut on U.S. 20. Commission member Erik Wagner said it’s needed. Police chief James Spanier said although that would be ideal, it makes no sense to require it when the gas station isn’t held to the same standard. Others agreed it’s not fair to burden a new business when existing ones aren’t restricted, and there’s no median on U.S. 20 to prevent illegal left turns.

The commission and building commissioner Mike Barry agreed to a plan that mirrors the Indiana Department of Transportation’s road-cut permit having three marked travel lanes for Dollar General at U.S. 20 --- an entrance lane and individual right/left exit lanes. No deceleration lane is included.

Barry noted in 2015 INDOT has an upgrade of the Waverly intersection tentatively scheduled with the addition of dedicated left-turn lanes on U.S. 20. The traffic light is set on delayed signal now. Mandon said town officials should meet with INDOT representatives soon to discuss design plans.

The final site plan OK’d on a 6-0 vote with member Jim Eriksson absent included the addition of several conifers along U.S. 20 to screen a detention pond east of the store from the highway.

Earlier in the evening the BZA granted Dollar General three variances from town standards: a reduction in the required parking spaces from 41 to 39; an increase from two to four the number of signs allowed; and a four-fold increase in the gross surface area of signage permitted.

During a public hearing, Jennifer Klug spoke in favor of Dollar General’s petition, but Bruce Brackney said Porter’s attraction is being a quaint town and there’s no need to duplicate retail available in Valparaiso, Portage and Michigan City.

BZA member Bill Sexton questioned the size of the signs after visiting three other Dollar General stores. Foster said early visibility is necessary for Porter because the speed is 50 mph on U.S. 20, and BZA president John Kremke reminded eastbound traffic will be approaching from a curve.

The BZA negotiated a reduction for the twin pylon signs, one at each U.S. 20 and Waverly Road entrance. Dollar General agreed to 5’ by 10’ 1” franchise signs instead of 6’ by 16’ 1” signs atop the poles for a total height of 21 feet.

Blue-on-yellow franchise signs affixed to the south and west faces of the building will be 4’ 6” by 33’ 3” each.

Tennessee-based Dollar General bills itself as the nation’s largest small-box retailer with 10,000 stores in 40 states. The typical store size is 7,200 square feet.




Posted 10/17/2013