Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – A proposal to build a Dollar General store near McKinleyville High School is being met with opposition from some town residents, but there may be little they can do to stop the project.
Dollar General has applied for a building permit to construct a new store on a vacant lot on McKinleyville Avenue southwest of Murray Road. Mack High is located across the street to the east, while the Ocean West Mobile Village is located to the west and south of the proposed store location.
The land is zoned commercial and the store is a principally permitted use, meaning that the owner only needs simple, over-the-counter permits from the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department. The process does not include any public hearings or opportunities for the public to amend or prevent the project.
However, that’s not keeping opponents of the proposed store from speaking out.
At the April 25 meeting of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee, 10 residents of Ocean West were in attendance, with some of them speaking out against the proposed store.
“I just don’t think it’s compatible,” said Hilary Mosher, a resident of Ocean West.
Mosher told the committee that the store would attract vagrants and result in more crime in the area. There will be more traffic and more congestion, she said.
Other opponents of the store locating in the area said they were concerned about trash, litter, vandalism, bright lights, delivery trucks and downstream drainage problems.
A common complaint about the project is that the store doesn’t seem compatible for the area, which is mostly residential other than the school.
Committee member Ben Shepherd explained at the meeting that the property’s commercial zoning was discussed during the update of the McKinleyville Community Plan, the town’s growth blueprint approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2001 after a nearly decade-long update process.
At the time, Shepherd said, the committee developing the town plan was trying to create a walkable, pedestrian friendly community. One of the ideas was to allow for neighborhood stores that people could walk to, like Roger’s Market on School Road. So the committee supported the idea of keeping the McKinleyville Avenue property zoned commercial.
Although the McKMAC listened to people speak out against the Dollar General, it did not take any action on the matter, which was brought up under public comments. The committee advises county departments and the Board of Supervisors.