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Neighbor gives his two cents on Dollar General project in Gowanda

OBSERVER photo by Natasha Matteliano Gowanda may soon see a Dollar General replace these two homes.

GOWANDA — A village resident has expressed concern over Dollar General’s plan to demolish two homes across the street from him.

Earlier this week in the Hollywood Theater, a scoping meeting was held to assess what needs to be addressed in the environmental impact statement done by the parent company of Dollar General. The company wants to demolish two homes in Gowanda and replace them with a Dollar General store. This meeting was held to get opinions from the public and ask them if there are any other factors they would like addressed in the environment impact statement.

Dino Alimonti, who lives across the street from the homes that will be demolished when the process is finished, is against the store moving in. Alimonti questioned why they chose the spot they did, when there is an empty parking lot nearby that he thought would be able to house the store.

“The site selection process is something that they go through with great detail,” Marc Romanowski, attorney for the store said. “They certainly look through any available sites within the community. What they’re looking at is location, where it is on the street is a critical issue to them.”

The parking lot Alimonti was thinking of was looked at by the company, according to village attorney Deb Chadsey, but was not large enough to hold the building.

Alimonti went on to say, “They want to destroy two beautiful homes and turn it into a business district. I bought my house because it was nice and quiet and peaceful. Now I’m going to have lights coming into my house, traffic till who knows what time, and headlights coming in my windows.”

Chadsey explained that if a property is properly zoned, a business can come in and use it for that purpose. It’s called “as of right use,” which she explained that if someone bought property that is zoned as commercial, which the properties that Dollar General bought are, they cannot be stopped as long as they meet all of the codes.

“They needed something that was properly zoned, and they needed something that had enough room to put their store,” Chadsey said. “They needed something properly zoned… I’m sorry that they bought those properties, but it is properly zoned and your neighbors sold.”

Before demolishing and the store starts to move in, they need to complete the state Environmental Quality Review process, which is nearly halfway completed. The next step for them is to draft the environment impact statement and let the lead agency, which is the Village Board, review it before they can allow the public to review it.

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