(Posted Dec. 7, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Madison County leaders have devised a plan that should allow Dollar General to break ground on a new store in Mount Sterling as early as March.
On Dec. 4, Dave Hughes, the county’s building and zoning director, approached the county commissioners with concerns about how to handle zoning for the site.
Dollar General plans to build the store on property located near the intersection of U.S. Rte. 62 and Third Street, across the road from Whiteside Automotive. The land sits outside of the Mount Sterling corporation limits and, as such, falls under county zoning. Currently, the property is zoned mostly residential; a small part is zoned commercial.
The county’s comprehensive land use plan, which sets zoning for the county’s unincorporated areas, is up for review next year. Commissioner Mark Forrest said it is very likely the area where Dollar General wants to build will switch from residential to commercial.
Hughes said that while that might be the case, Dollar General wants to break ground before the land use plan review is finished. Rob Slane, county administrator, estimates the review process will wrap up in June.
County Prosecutor Stephen Pronai suggested that the company request a conditional use permit for the property with a promise to come back for rezoning once the comprehensive plan is updated. If approved, a conditional use permit would allow the company to move forward with development plans on its preferred timeline.
“I don’t want to lose a business down in Mount Sterling,” Pronai said about his desire to find a solution that makes the store possible.
“I think it would be a very good thing for (Mount Sterling),” said Commissioner David Hunter, noting the village has been without a grocery store for several years. The Dollar General store will offer some grocery items.
Slane said the township trustees have indicated they want the zoning change to happen. Commissioner David Dhume requested that the trustees pass a resolution that officially states their preference to see the zoning designation change to commercial.
Forrest suggested that the trustees present the resolution as an “emergency need for the community.”
Hughes said he hopes to have the conditional use permit paperwork ready for a public hearing with the Board of Zoning Appeals in early January.
Located in the Burr Oaks subdivision, the property has access to county sewer services but not water.
Comprehensive Land Use Plan Review
The county has formed a committee to oversee the review process. The plan is reviewed every four years.
Members of the committee are: Julia Cumming of the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District; Bryan Dhume, county engineer; Mary Griffith, agricultural and natural resources educator with the Madison County Ohio State University Extension; David Hughes, county building and zoning director; David Kell, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and Madison County Future Community Improvement Corp.; and Rob Slane, county administrator.
The committee will do most of the legwork on the review process, Slane said, but also will form and consider input from an advisory committee made up of people representing various professions and interests. The review process will include a residential survey to get input from the public at large. The committee’s first official meeting took place Dec. 6.
Other County Business
Also on Dec. 4, the commissioners officially welcomed London resident Melissa Ridenour as a new member of the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD).
Melissa replaces her father, David Ridenour, who is stepping down for health reasons. David’s term ends this year. Melissa will start a new four-year term in January.
Melissa has worked in the finance department at Madison Health for 21 years. Her brother, Phillip, has been served by MCBDD for 45 years.
The commissioners also approved a transfer of funds for the Madison County Board of Elections. Director Tim Ward requested that $4,300 be moved from the board’s supply account to its salary account to cover additional labor needed to send out absentee ballots and staff extra office hours as mandated by the Ohio Secretary of State.
Ward also reported that Madison County is slated to receive $530,000 from the state for new voting equipment. He said the funds should cover the full cost to purchase the equipment. The state funding does not cover equipment maintenance. The new equipment is mandated by the state.