After 5 months of debate and design upgrades proposed by the developer of a 10,640-square-foot Dollar General store on Orange Beach Boulevard (Hwy. 161), the Orange Beach City Council approved a conditional use permit for the new business at its Sept. 19 meeting.
The Broadway Group received an approval on a 4-2 vote, with Chairman Pro-tem Annette Mitchell and Council member Joni Blalock voting against the request based on concerns that the store was not the right fit for the location due to potential issues with traffic, noise and intrusion on the local neighborhood.
In response to the comments at the council’s July meeting, Bob Broadway of The Broadway Group said, “It is a neighborhood store and it is a neighborhood business district. And to me this is the definition of what a neighborhood business is. It serves the neighborhood.”
Prior to the council approval on Sept. 19, Councilman Jeff Silvers said his concerns were allayed with a visit to the property, which showed no one living behind it or to the north, and discussions he and Councilman Jerry Johnson had with Broadway. Silvers’ concern over northbound traffic on Hwy. 161 turning left to the building, which will be prohibited, were also addressed, he said. If it becomes an issue, traffic delineator posts will be placed in the center lane.
The updates made to the store design changed dramatically from the initial plan and were applauded by the council. The signature yellow Dollar General signs were changed to black letters on brick and the building’s facade now fits in with the area’s coastal atmosphere.
According to Broadway, the new Dollar General store will be a relocation and replacement of the existing store in the Gulf Beach Shopping Center, next to the Walmart Neighborhood Market, due to an expiring lease.
The new building will have two driveways onto Rose Lane and the developer will improve the road by increasing and paving the road to a width of 28 feet and length of 359 feet. The ingress and egress to Rose Lane will be right-in and right-out only as well. The store will have 33 parking spaces.
The Orange Beach Medical Arts facility is located on the property to the south and a vacant lot is on its north side.
The location is zoned as neighborhood business (NB) and the zoning ordinance specifies that the grocery store/retail use is a conditional use in that district, which required council approval.