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Developer cites tight conditions
Builder says requirements placed on store 'excessive'

NEWBORN - The developer of the Dollar General formerly proposed for Newborn said he decided not to build in the town due to "excessive" regulations.

Bob Broadway of The Broadway Group out of Huntsville, Ala., said he wants to make sure citizens of the town have the whole story. The store, at the proposed location of 4049 Ga. Highway 142 adjacent to Bess's Place restaurant, would have been the first commercial venture in Newborn since 2001.

Broadway called the Citizen this week following publication of comments by Newborn Planning Commission Chairman Ted Sheldon.

Broadway withdrew his petition on Aug. 19, just one day prior to a scheduled public hearing, citing requirements by town officials.

Sheldon said he hoped the developer would reconsider, adding, "I don't think our specifications were so outlandish. They knew from the get-go what we wanted."

However, Broadway said he was blindsided by a staff report that included six pages of conditions he would have to meet in order to get a conditional use permit for the store.

He and a Dollar General representative met with Newborn officials in February and discussed several conditions proposed by town officials.

Newborn officials were requesting that the building comply with the design motif of the town, with an all-brick exterior, a front porch with columns and all black lettering for the sign. The developer would have also been required to make road improvements to Duke Street.

Broadway said it was agreed to keep the design motif in line with other buildings in town. However, he would not agree to build the porch and said he only agreed to pay one-third of the cost for the road improvements, with the town and property owner Julia A. Wilson to pay the remainder.

The Broadway Group received two e-mails, one on Aug. 5 and one on Aug. 12, adding numerous other conditions.

Included in the conditions was a requirement that the front parking lot be placed 25 feet further back from the originally submitted drawing for traffic safety; specific time periods during which grass seed could be thrown out at the site; and regulations on asphalt used in the road paving, including monitoring of the temperature, depth and compaction of the material and workmanship, by the road and bridge inspector or other town officials.

"This is way overboard for this type of development. We're just a small store. We're not a Super Target," Broadway said.

Initially, town officials asked that there be no store sign on the roadway or the building, Broadway said, adding that he was shown a photo of a town business with the name painted on a piece of plywood.

Dollar General has "never succumbed to anything like this before," said Broadway, who develops about 50 stores a year for the retail chain.

Broadway said he is looking at an alternative site in Newton County, but would not say where.

According to its Web site, Dollar General is the nation's largest small-box discount retailer, taking in more than $9.5 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2007. Dollar General has more than 8,000 stores in 35 states, including 468 in Georgia.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.