KINGFIELD — The proposed Dollar General store scheduled for construction on Route 27 north of the village may not happen, selectmen were told Monday night.
Robert Gage, senior vice president of development services for GBT Realty Corp. in Brentwood, Tenn., told the board the estimated costs to build five stores in Maine had skyrocketed, and he needed to find ways to cut expenses.
GBT Realty Corp. builds and owns the stores and leases them to Dollar General.
“Basically, I’m here to see if you guys would be receptive to some modifications to the exterior of the building,” he said.
At a May 2017 Planning Board hearing, many residents protested the project, fearing the chain store would negatively affect the historic village character and property values. Others asked whether the Planning Board had confirmed the impact on public services, including fire protection and policing.
The contractor had agreed to modify Dollar General’s standard flat roof to a gable design more in keeping with the character and harmony of the town. Taking the gable roof out of the plan would bring costs down, according to Gage.
“Isn’t this a trip back to the Planning Board?” asked Selectman John Dill.
Selectmen agreed they were unwilling to approve the change of the exterior without another review for residents.
If Gage decided against building the store, Selectman Walter Kilbreth offered his suggestion for the property.
“I’ll give you $100,000 for that land,” he said.
Gage said he would review the company’s options for cost-cutting elsewhere, with the option to scrap the Kingfield project, if necessary.
In other matters, selectmen appointed Susan Davis to the Planning Board and Madeline Holtham to the Budget Committee. They also accepted Neal McCurdy’s resignation from the Village Enhancement Committee. McCurdy was appointed in December 2017, along with Lisa Standish and Kate Spardello.
Selectmen discussed the status of the committee, noting that the original purpose and stated goals may have veered somewhat from the original plans. Several members on the original group have resigned over the past several years, and newer members may not understand the original mission of the Village Enhancement Committee when voters approved its formation in 2012.
“There are good members on there, but it doesn’t look like it’s working like it should,” Selectman Ray Meldrum said.