BERLIN – Construction on a new Dollar General in Berlin could begin as soon as this spring.
The Berlin Planning Commission this week gave final site plan approval to the Dollar General proposed for the intersection of Decatur Street and Assateague Road. This project comes after community concerns about traffic put a halt to plans to build the store at the busy Old Ocean City Boulevard and Route 113 intersection.
“We’ve come a long way,” said John Camp, vice president of Oxford Chase Development, the company behind the project.
Plans approved by the commission show a brick building surrounded by a parking area that will be accessed via an entrance on Decatur Street. There will be no access from Assateague Road.
The project is being built on a 2.2-acre parcel that has been sold by the town to Oxford Chase Development. The property is adjacent to the land that will be the site of the town’s new police station.
Though the company purchased 2.2 acres from the town, Camp said half an acre would be dedicated back to the town to allow for the realignment of Decatur Street in the future. According to Dave Engelhart, the town’s planning director, sometime in the next fiscal year the town plans to redo the street so that it lines up with Flower Street. That will involve widening Decatur Street and moving it east, closer to the new store.
“The alignment was something the mayor and council wanted to see before any of these projects got off the ground,” Engelhart said.
Commission member Barb Stack pointed out that it would be easier to realign the streets before construction of the police station or Dollar General began.
“It’s a lot of extra work it seems like,” she said.
Because the Dollar General will be complete before the road work begins, what will initially be a long entranceway off Decatur Street will simply be shortened once the road is moved.
“The best we can do is plan for it,” said Howard Crossan, president of Oxford Chase Development.
Chris Denny, chairman of the planning commission, asked whether the store’s parking lot would accommodate motorists with campers and travel trailers on their way to Assateague. Camp said those drivers would more than likely just pull off to the side of Decatur Street.
Commission member Pete Cosby said the town should delineate some parallel parking spaces on the street for those vehicles when it was redone.
“I’m just trying to plant the seeds to make sure we do,” he said. “I think it’d be good.”
Cosby and Stack commended the Oxford Chase representatives for the building itself, which they said was an improvement over the one that had been proposed for the Old Ocean City Boulevard site.
“This project is a lot better,” Stack said. “There’s more land involved and there’s better landscaping.”
Crossan said the improvements had come about as a result of working with town staff through the process.
“I’d like to commend the town for working with us,” he said. “It was very much a cooperative effort.”
According to Oxford Chase Development construction on the new Dollar General could begin as soon as March.