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Waterloo council sinks planned Dollar General store

Waterloo council sinks planned Dollar General store

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WATERLOO — Heavy neighborhood opposition derailed plans for a new Dollar General store in southeast Waterloo.

City Council members voted 6-1 Monday to reject a request from the discount retailer to rezone about three acres of farm ground to build a new 9,100-square-foot store near the intersection of U.S. Highway 218 and Dysart and Shaulis roads.

Council members said they received an influx of phone calls and emails opposing the project, which they had supported by a 4-3 vote a week earlier.

“This is in my ward,” said Councilman Jonathan Grieder. “I’ve heard a lot from my constituents. It’s clear that they do not want this, that this is not good for the neighborhood.”

While the city’s Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission had endorsed the zoning change last month, council members said residents in Cedar Terrace, Timothy Ridge, Summerland Park and other surrounding residential areas were not aware of that hearing.

“A lot of the people we’re hearing from were not notified about this prior to the planning and zoning’s action,” said Councilwoman Sharon Juon.

Mayor Quentin Hart said the city followed state law and sent notification letters to property owners within 200 feet of the site. But that wasn’t far enough to reach the nearby subdivisions.

“Heck, you might as well mail it to the bird’s nest next door,” said Councilwoman Margaret Klein. “They felt it was being sneaked in. It took them a long time to be aware of the project.”

Opponents were concerned about traffic congestion and safety near the site, water runoff, and the placement of a commercial business in that location.

Councilmen Dave Boesen, Ray Feuss and Pat Morrissey joined Grieder, Juon and Klein in voting against the zoning change. Councilman Jerome Amos Jr. supported it after asking whether the store would really have a negative impact on homes in the area.

“That’s something we’re going to have a difference of opinion on,” responded Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson.

“There’s not houses immediately abutting it; they’re a good distance away,” Anderson said. “It’s going to be a matter of opinion on what impact it’s going to have on residential.

“Some people might like having it there, the convenience,” he added. “Other people may not want to have commercial out in that area.”

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