Planning panel OKs requests for Dollar General, cell tower projects

The Venango County Planning Commission granted several waiver requests for the construction of a Dollar General in Polk and a Tower King cellphone tower in Mineral Township at the panel’s meeting Tuesday night.

The Dollar General will be located where Route 62 intersects with Bell Avenue in Polk. As Route 62 is considered an arterial highway, zoning requires the storefront to be at least 80 feet from the road.

The commission waived this setback requirement at the request of Steckbeck Engineering since that area of Route 62 is Polk’s main street.

“Downtown setback requirements are typically zero feet from the road or the sidewalk, and they want Polk Borough to keep the downtown feel,” said land use planner Ashley Smith.

A rear setback requirement was waived as well due to the size of the lot and the fact there are no homes that would be affected near the rear property line.

The commission also waived Dollar General’s parking lot requirement, which would require 37 parking spaces for a store of its size. With the waiver, the lot will accommodate 30 cars.

“They don’t have enough room to build 37 lots,” said planning director Jason Ruggiero. “Dollar General pretty much always asks for the parking lot waiver based on how many cars they get per hour.”

Ruggiero said Polk Borough Council member Dave Owens said the borough approved of the waivers. The lot where the store will be built is a combination of several smaller lots that contain several dilapidated structures that will be demolished.

“They were actually optimistic that some of these dilapidated houses will be torn down and replaced with a Dollar General,” Ruggiero said.

Representatives from Tower King requested a waiver from an ordinance that requires a 24-foot-wide driveway. Tower King proposed to extend an existing 10-foot driveway, arguing that a cellphone tower will produce minimal vehicle traffic.

Smith said there is no forecasted timeline for either project as neither has received final approval.

The planning commission meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at 191 Howard St. in Franklin.