Riverbank residents traveling on Roselle Avenue were met with continued rerouting around construction work on the Dollar General store going up there during the past week.
A crew chief said the work was starting early last week so workers would be done early and avoid the worst of the triple digit heat expected. He said they were planning on using the same schedule this week, for the same reason.
Workers and equipment were busy on a second set of trenches crossing Roselle, to connect utility services to the store being built.
He pointed out that sewer, underground electricity and several water hookups were being installed, each with its own trench across the road. And water requires several installations, with irrigation water, a separate line for fire suppression and another for landscape irrigation going in.
In front of the building, between the street and the building, will be a landscaped parking lot, with a drainage basin built behind the store, toward the rail yard. A five-foot wide sidewalk will be at the edge of the street, but just in front of the store.
A recent uproar on social media indicates neighbors are wondering how the Dollar General store could be built there, in the midst of homes on that side of the street.
Donna Kenney, Riverbank Building and Planning Manager, said that the east side of Roselle Avenue, between Patterson Road and Powers Avenue, is actually zoned M-1, which is Light Industrial.
According to the city’s zoning codes, what is permitted under the M-1 (commercial-industrial zone) designation is any building use except, “hospitals, labor camps, schools and recreation centers.” Oh, yes, and “dwellings.”
Permitted uses are “Retail stores, wares, or other merchandise unless otherwise regulated.”
Kenney was asked why, then, the area has homes on that side of the road.
She said, “So the existing houses in this area are legally nonconforming. Those folks were there before the zoning changed and can continue to live there as long as they’d like. They can repair their homes but not increase the living space.”
Basically, the residential homes were grandfathered in to the area to allow for continued use.
“If a house is vacant longer than six months, it is no longer considered a residential structure and has to become commercial or industrial like the Dollar Store site,” Kenney added.
She also said she wasn’t sure when the zoning was changed by the city council, but indicated the usage of the properties will most likely evolve over time.
Those with additional questions can contact the department at 209-863-7124.