Council Denies Zoning Request, Dollar General Store
At its June 8 meeting, the La Porte City City Council heard arguments during a public hearing for and against a change in zoning that would allow for the construction of a Dollar General store on the northern edge of town, adjacent to a portion of the Anton Addition along U.S. Highway 218.
Speaking in favor of the project was Jake Stauffer, representing Overland Development, the company planning to invest approximately $1 million to construct a 9,100 square foot retail store near the intersection of E. Reinbeck Road and U.S. Highway 218. The store would be occupied by Dollar General, who has already agreed to a 15 year lease. The store would employ 8-12 people, generating an estimated $1.2 – $1.5 million in annual sales. In addition to creating jobs, Stauffer pointed out two additional benefits for the City- increasing its tax base and generating additional sales tax revenues the City receives as part of the one cent local option sales tax.
MaryJo Albright stated that she moved to La Porte City four years ago and has not been able to find a job. She said the new store would be beneficial to the town by bringing jobs to the community, along with additional traffic and visitors as well.
Roger Ohrt, Gary Urban and Tedd Schmitz expressed their opposition to the zoning change. Ohrt presented a petition with 60 signatures to the Council and shared his concerns about the potential flooding of neighboring properties a new store at that location could cause. He also cited concerns about additional traffic the store could generate and suggested the company look at other available locations in La Porte City.
Urban, owner of Gary’s Thriftway and Urb’s Hardware, commented the similarity of products sold by Dollar General could adversely affect sales at his two La Porte City stores.
Schmitz, who resides in the Anton Addition, expressed his concerns about the proximity of the proposed store to the back of his property.
In response to the concerns expressed, Stauffer noted the proposed site’s current elevation of 816 feet would be increased to 819 feet, leaving it two feet lower than the lowest point of the neighboring Anton Addition, which sits at 821 feet. He added that Overland Devlopment would also install two retention ponds to insure the property would remain runoff neutral.
Responding to concerns about noise, trash and traffic, Stauffer said an eight-foot privacy fence would be constructed extending the length of the property line shared by adjacent homes. He also said the traffic study conducted by Overland indicated the store would create an increase of 44 cars per hour during peak hours of operation.
At the conclusion of the public hearing, the motion to rezone the property was defeated by a 3-2 vote, with Todd Butler and Sarah Craft voting for the measure and Eric Allsup, Mike Johnson and Brent Sadler voting against it.
In other business, the Council heard the first reading of ordinances related to urban chickens and solid waste control, which specifies the type of trash and recycling containers that can be used, as well as the time and placement of these containers for collection.
The Council also approved nine RAGBRAI vendor booth applications, pending receipt of all required fees and documentation.