THOMASTON, Maine — A proposed Dollar General store was sent marching out of town Tuesday night when the planning board found that the project failed to meet local zoning standards.
The planning board meeting attracted about 60 residents, many of whom were concerned about the design of the project not fitting in with the vision the community had for development in the area.
In the end, the board found that the proposed store did not come close to meeting the Thomaston Green design guidelines, Code Enforcement Officer William Wasson said Wednesday.
“It’s off the table,” Wasson said about the project. He said he does not know if the developer plans to come back with a revised plan.
The aim of the Thomaston Green design guidelines is to make buildings look like they belong in a New England village green and complement development in the abutting residential districts.
The main problem with the project was its design, the code officer said.
“Franchise architecture which is designed to be identified with a specific commercial chain store or restaurant is not appropriate,” the town ordinance states.
Thomaston Green is the area where the former Maine State Prison was located. The property runs along Route 1 and overlooks the St. George River. The prison closed in 2002 and the buildings were demolished.
After a special town meeting in September 2012, the town built roads, sewer and water lines on the former property known as Thomaston Green.
The 2012 vote allowed $250,000 in improvements to go forward even though no lots had been sold. Residents also agreed at that meeting to authorize selectmen to sell four lots in Thomaston Green that abut Route 1 that would be reserved for commercial development. Residents also voted to allow selectmen to sell two lots to the rear of Thomaston Green that would be developed as residential units.
The town has tried to encourage developers to build homes on the site, but the Great Recession that struck beginning in 2008 dampened interest.
The project that came before the board Tuesday night was proposed by Franklin Land Associates LLC of Brentwood, Tennessee, which is located near Dollar General’s Goodlettsville corporate headquarters. The 9,000-square-foot building was proposed for a 1.73-acre parcel next to where the Strong Agency insurance building is located and adjacent to the former prison property now referred to as Thomaston Green.
The land is owned by Jlinn LLV, which includes John MIller of Thomaston.
Dollar General has more than 12,000 stores in 43 states, according to the company’s website. Its 12 stores in Maine are concentrated in central and southern Maine.
Dollar General has not responded to a telephone call seeking comment about its proposal to build in Thomaston.