Fee agrees to contemplate Greenback Basic – Dorchester Banner

Photo submitted / City of Cambridge
A Dollar General Store is being considered for the property on the corner of High Street and Washington Street in Cambridge, most of which is now vacant.

CAMBRIDGE – The city’s Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved another review of a proposed Dollar General Store on October 29. The plan is to build the store on the corner of Washington Street and High Street, on land that is currently only inhabited by two small buildings.
The idea was only presented to the Commission for discussion on October 29th. Final approval of the plan must come at a future city council meeting after the property in question is converted from residential to commercial.

Cambridge City Planning and Zoning Commission division chief Pat Escher said while she found no evidence that the area was originally mistakenly zoned – a criterion for change – the re-zoning could be done on a different basis. “What I think happened in the area is that the city has seen heightened awareness of the urban renewal that needs to be happening in the Pine Street neighborhood,” which is adjacent to the property.
“There are now 35 properties under state control, either the city or Dorchster County,” she said, another 21 owned by Habitat, for a total of 56 properties that are being developed in some form to facilitate the urban renewal project in the area.
The city has also applied for a $ 450,000 grant to renew and renovate nearby Cornish Park. Ms. Escher said a total of $ 1.2 million had been pledged to revitalize the neighborhood with the city, grant, and Habitat combined, with an additional $ 500,000 pledged by the state.

Her report noted that since the area serves as the gateway to the city, the project will require “superior architecture and design” which she did not see in the original plans for the 9,000 square foot store. However, she stated that the project was essentially compatible with the needs of the city.
Attorney William (Sandy) W. McAllister Jr. represented Dollar General at the meeting, which was conducted primarily via conference call. He said his job of attracting developers to the city has been difficult.

“Attracting the development of part of the city is a particular challenge,” said Mr. “So I don’t know what superior design means, I don’t know what moving a business means,” McCallister said. “Sane minds may disagree, but this corner has overwhelmed most of my life.”
The business would be on Route 50 and serve an older pedestrian population, making it a “flipping win,” he said. “It is important not to make this a little more difficult than absolutely necessary to protect the citizens of Cambridge.”
“I have to say, I am a little frustrated with the level of detail used to conceptually encourage these people to spend their money,” said McCallister.

He said a Dollar General at the location would have dozens of employees, would not “cannibalize” existing businesses in the area, and would allow residents of the neighboring country not to cross Route 50.
“Tell me what to say to the developers,” said McCallister.

“I could certainly support the zone change,” said Commissioner Bill Craig. “I think it would be good for the neighborhood … That fits in with the requests from the community.”
“I can go with the change, but I’m more concerned about how residents feel about it,” said Commissioner Chantay Nelson. Commission chairwoman Mary Losty said a community meeting could be scheduled.
“I appreciate anyone who encourages me,” said McCallister.

Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission are Jerry Burroughs, William Craig, Chantay Nelson, Eugene Lauer, Hubert Trego, George Breig and Mary Losty (Chair). The commission meets every first Tuesday of the month and, if necessary, on the third Tuesday.