By Frank Lewis
GBT Investments wants to put a Dollar General store at the corner of Harding Avenue and Buckley Avenue in Sciotoville, and wants Portsmouth City Council to suspend their three-readings rule for zoning.
That property is a green space where the former Harding School had been located.
In legislation that will be up for discussion during the city manager’s portion of this Monday night’s Portsmouth City Council meeting, Council will be asked to consider approving changing that location from Residence B to Business A. GBT Investments made a presentation before the City Planning Commission and the Planning Commission held a public hearing on Feb. 18, giving an opportunity for area residents to voice any questions or concerns. No one presented or called with opposition.
Bob Gage, of GBT, has requested that the three readings be waived in order to meet the time limitations of the project.
At a City Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 28, GBT Investments, Inc. requested the re-zoning so that a Dollar General store and on-site parking could be constructed.
Jason Horowitz, representing GBT Investments, Inc, told the Commission the request was for approximately 1.82 acres, located in the Sixth Ward. Horowitz said about 25 stores have been built in Ohio, which he said indicates that GBT has a lot of experience building this type of store.
Portsmouth Mayor and Sixth Ward Councilman Steve Sturgill asked why that particular site had been chosen, and Horowitz explained that GBT Investments looks at well traveled intersections, looking at households and being visible from streets along with signage being visible. He also explained that the retailer looks to see if there are enough people in the area to support the store.
Sturgill said the property, currently owned by the Portsmouth City School System, has been vacant for years, and while he appreciates the interest, he believes the people in that neighborhood should be notified and given the opportunity to discuss their opinions. It was determined that the neighbors would be notified by mail to see if they wanted to address the request at a public meeting. That meeting was held on Feb. 18, and the plan met with no opposition.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.