Dollar General hearing delayed til March

The Chester Development Review Board has postponed the Feb. 13 continuance hearing on the Dollar General request for a conditional use permit, Zoning Administrator Michael Normyle has announced.
The hearing will be delayed until Monday, March 12, at the request of the applicant, the Zaremba Group, the company that is proposing to build the 9,100-square-foot Dollar General store on a portion of property owned by Zachary’s Pizza House, on Main Street across from the Country Girl Diner.
The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 556 Elm St.
The DRB had requested more information from Zaremba, including grading and drainage plans for the entrance to the property, more detail on the faux windows and pedestrian access to the store from the sidewalk. It agreed that delaying the hearing would allow it more time to review the new information.
Opponents and the developer have been in a contentious tango for months as they try to bring the DRB over to their sides. A group of interested town residents, calling themselves Smart Growth Chester, formed to fight the proposal, saying that a big box retailer doesn’t fit in with the New England character of the town and could harm the economic health of several area businesses. And Zaremba is claiming that it does fit in with the town’s character.

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  1. Diana says:

    The Dollar General will be of little or no benefit to Chester beyond what tax dollars it brings in, and that income will be negligent if it imperils the income of existing businesses. All the money made at the store will be funneled back to corporate headquarters, and the jobs provided will be a handful at most, and they will be minimum wage. If the store fails, we will be left with another eyesore, and we will be endangering the tourist dollars that come into town now. Ludlow, Bellows Falls and Springfield have already been seduced by the siren song of chain stores. Do we want our town to look like that? We’ve worked for so many years to preserve the character of Chester. We need to continue to look for businesses like Newsbank that provide tax money and good paying jobs. The money from companies like that are reinvested back into the community.

  2. Claudio says:

    Corporate retail does not add money to a community. It simply changes the flow of the money, siphoning off a substantial portion back to its headquarters, Tennessee in this case.
    Corporate retail chains care as much about the communities they attach themselves to as a slug appreciates you, personally, as it withdraws from you what it needs. Same mechanism.
    We are going to fight this, but we are also looking to attract real businesses that bring real capital to the community and adds to — not subtracts from — our character. If we all unite on such a goal, it will happen.

  3. samantha says:

    Chester does not need a Dollar General. What we need is better roads, more family owned little shops, not a corporate store. I hate seeing a beautiful field being covered by a store that will maybe get more money for the town. But just how much will we really be getting? Like I said before, being a corporate company probably not much. I am not in favor of the *build.* It’s more like the company trying to sponge up more money.

  4. Kathy says:

    What is Chester’s character? How do the residents of Chester view themselves and what is the first impression the community wants to leave visitors with?

    A dollar store at the village’s gateway says “poor,” “rundown.” The innkeepers who maintain such lovely buildings will see potential visitors drive by as they seek out better towns. Those of you who depend on tourists and second homeowners will see business drop off as they leave.

    Look at Springfield: subsidized housing, unemployment, registered sex offenders, unwed teen moms, a prison, fast-food and two dollar stores. Is this what you envision for Chester?