Zoning change approved for Dollar General

Dollar General received the Planning Commission’s approval Monday for a zoning change that will allow the company to build a new store at 4725 Prescott Road.

The retail chain expects to spend around $1 million on the new store, which will employ 10 to 12 people, said John Wood III, a principal of Integrated Development Group.

Dollar General prefers that most of those employees come from the surrounding community, he said.

Integrated Development applied for the zoning change on Dollar General’s behalf. Wood said about 100 residents signed a petition supporting the zoning change. The Dollar General site now is “an eyesore,” according to Mike McClanahan, a community activist and local resident who signed the petition.

Residents are excited about a store coming in that offers a larger assortment of goods than a mom-and-pop retailer, McClanahan said.

The Dollar General also will offer another option for residents who have to walk to get there because they lack other transportation, he said.

However, Debra Jackson, who lives across the street from the planned store, said there are other retailers within walking distance, and the development could make the intersection of Prescott and Beechwood Drive more dangerous.

Jackson said the 18-wheelers that will service the store will be driving on the smaller surrounding streets, which can’t handle that kind of traffic, and the development could affect drainage.

The store will have to meet the city-parish’s requirements in all areas, so those issues won’t be a problem, Wood said.

Owner Josh Priola, who recently moved to Baton Rouge, said he hopes to open the new store by March 16, in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

If that’s not doable, Priola said, he would like to at least hold an open house.

In other business Monday, the commission approved a zoning change for a new Street Breads, a gourmet sandwich shop at 3131 Perkins Road, and a parking waiver for Cupcake Allie, a bakery, at 1575 Lobdell Ave.

The zoning change will allow Street Breads, whose original location is in Lake Charles, to serve alcohol.

Allison Offner said her bakery mostly will be a delivery business, with a few customers coming in to pick up their custom cupcakes.

The president of the Goodwood Property Owners Association, Dennis Vidrine, asked the commission to delay the approval by 30 days because residents didn’t know any of the details of the proposed business until Monday’s meeting.

The delay would allow Offner to meet with residents and provide them with that information, he said.

However, Offner said she had been developing the business for five years; 30 days would be a substantial amount of time to further delay setting up a storefront.

Commission member W.T. Winfield said it will take time for the bakery to work through all the other requirements to open, such as a building permit, and Offner can use that time to educate residents about her business.