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Proposal for Family Dollar store challenged

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

The McDonough City Council is expected to vote on a proposed development project, which has already generated strong opposition from at least one councilmember.

Councilwoman-At-Large, Gail Notti, said the construction plans for a new dollar-store business in the city are "horrible."

Notti's concerns came in response to a request for a Family Dollar location at 700 Ga. Highway 42, South.

Developer Daniel Marks, of Metro Group Development, presented a proposal for the retail facility Thursday, during a council workshop at McDonough City Hall.

Notti told Marks his plans for the dollar store, are "substandard." What the city needs from the store, she said, is a four-sided brick building.

"It's on the gateway," Notti said. "It needs to be all-brick. It needs to be well-done, and it needs to be well-landscaped. As much as I want new businesses in our community, this is unacceptable."

Marks is requesting that the area around the store be rezoned from heavy industrial, to highway commercial.

Original plans for the store called for a metal building. Marks said those plans were met with resistance from the city's Planning Commission, whose members asked for a brick building, instead.

McDonough Community Development Director Kathleen Field said the city, and Marks, came up with a compromise to create an exterior of stone veneer, stucco and brick veneer.

However, that was not enough to satisfy Notti, who said the store's design would be a reflection on the city itself.

"A downturn in the economy is not a reason to lower our standards, and lower what we have to live with," she said.

Marks told Notti he has been working with the city in recent weeks, in an effort to meet its standards, but has run into financial difficulties brought on by a troubled economy.

"I had my architect spruce up the building a little bit more, to get closer to what ... you are looking for," Marks said. "I'm working with you as much as I can. I'm getting to the point where I can no longer bring up certain materials, because it increases the cost so much. I just can't do it.

"It's not whether I want to do it, or anything else," he continued. "It just so happens that we can no longer afford to do a four-sided brick building.

"Family Dollar," he said, "is amenable to upgrading their building, if it fits within their budget. The problem with this, that it does not fit within their budget."

The council is expected to vote on the proposed development Monday, at its next meeting.