The Hermon Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved plans to build a Dollar General store on Route 2 despite concerns from neighbors about increased traffic congestion on the state road.
The addition of a Dollar General store in town would mark the national chain’s latest expansion in Maine. It has more than 60 stores in the state and has opened a number of locations in neighboring towns in the Bangor area in recent years. There are also Dollar General locations in Carmel, Hampden and Winterport.
Nationally, Dollar General has made expansion into rural areas the cornerstone of its business strategy.
Trisha Richardson, who owns and operates a day care center across the street from the proposed store in Hermon, said that 30 to 40 cars go in and out of her center Monday through Friday. Drivers wait between five and 10 minutes for traffic to clear before they can turn onto heavily traveled Route 2.
“The driveway for this project is directly across the street from my driveway,” she said. “I’m worried about accidents. I’m worried about the bus that stops in front of my business that people don’t always stop for.”
She suggested moving the Dollar General driveway so it’s not directly across from the daycare center’s.
But the Maine Department of Transportation has signed off on the entrance location, said Jim Kiser of Kiser and Kiser Engineering Consulting, who is working on the project with Dollar General.
“The DOT prefers that driveways line up across the street from each other,” he said. “There will be a one-lane entrance into the parking lot and a two-lane exit.”
David Demmons, who lives next door to the lot where the store would be built, said he was worried about students from nearby Hermon High School crossing busy Route 2 to get to the store.
“This store will be a calling card for the kids as it sells candy, soda, gadgets for their phones,” he said. “There’s no light and no crosswalk in front of the [store] and no sidewalk on the side of the street where this will be.”
Dollar General’s corporate headquarters did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it would go ahead with the project now that plans have been approved.
The Tennessee-based firm initially appeared before the board last fall but members asked that the store make revisions to the standard facade of the company’s stores, which feature a flat roof and a bright yellow and black color scheme.
The revised plan that the planning board approved adds a gabled front over the entrance similar to the one over the entrance to Danforth’s grocery store, located about a quarter mile from the proposed Dollar General site. The building also will have gray, vinyl siding rather than the standard brick facade.
Correction: An earlier version of this article had incorrect information in a quote.