City Council accepts proposal to dedicate additional space at proposed future Dollar General property, still unclear when or whether Dollar General is moving forward
LINDSAY – It is currently unclear whether Lindsay can look forward to a Dollar General store in the near future, but they are making some progress nonetheless.
At last Tuesday’s Lindsay City Council meeting, the council voted in favor of a large land dedication at the proposed Dollar General site on the corner of Hermosa and Elmwood, near the roundabout. City Services Director Mike Camarena said the dedication was required as part of the proposed development at 120 East Hermosa Street.
Mayor Pam Kimball said the idea was to push the parking lot away from the roundabout to make the intersection safer.
“We’re getting a Dollar General. It’s amazing,” Kimball said at the meeting.
The Sun-Gazette reached out to Camarena and interim city manager Bret Harmon to determine whether the long debated grocery store was coming into town, and when. Neither Camarena or Harmon responded for comment by press time.
Councilmember Rosaena Sanchez asked why the Dollar General project, which began during her first stint on the council in 2013, was taking so long. Camarena said there was a death in the family of the property owners and reminded the council that there were a series of legal challenges to the project.
The council voted 4-0 to approve the project as Councilmember Brian Watson was absent.
According to a Lindsay staff report, the dedication at 120 E. Hermosa would have been approximately 150 feet by 24 feet along the north side of the property.
This, the third incarnation of a Dollar General project in Lindsay, has been delayed since 2016 for legal reasons. Richard Harriman, an attorney representing a group called the Lindsay Advocates for Responsive Government (LARGo), threatened to sue the City over its categorical exemption of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines.
Harriman told The Sun-Gazette on Monday, Oct. 28 that the case was settled and they dismissed the appeal at the end of last year.
“What we did was decide that we would not fight it any further because we did not think we had a chance of prevailing,” Harriman said.
Harriman argued there would likely be traffic congestion from the store due to the roundabout as commercial trucks and cars try to enter and exit the parking lot. He called for the city to conduct a traffic study in order to exempt the project from CEQA.
Dollar General had previous withdrawn essentially the same project for the same reason in 2013, when Harriman filed a lawsuit claiming the City failed to provide the public with ample time to participate in public comment and by failing to update its General Plan regarding Historic Resources. It was the second time that year Embree had withdrawn a Dollar General project that year. Embree pulled its original project, located at the corner Mirage Avenue and Hermosa, on April 9. Harriman threatened to sue that project because it failed to consider the historical nature of the building Embree was proposing to raze to make way for a Dollar General store.
Chris Brewer, Tulare County historian and curator of the Exeter Historical Museum, was contracted by LARGo to evaluate the historical significance of the building and determined it was a candidate for eligibility on the National Register of Historic Places. The Citrus Exchange building is a representative work of a master architect, William Ache, who designed several significant buildings already listed on the National Register, including the Palisades Wing of the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, embodied the distinctive characteristics of the late Mission Revival era, and represented the history of the citrus industry in California from the 1930s through 1960s.
Then City Planner Bill Zigler argued the scope of the project did not require a CEQA review, meaning that the project did not require an Environmental Impact Report because it was consistent with the “central commercial” zoning of the property, land use elements of the City’s General Plan and that the building does not have any historical significance under the law.