City Council gives OK to Family Dollar Store plan
Memorial building parking lot bid awarded
LINDSAY — One of two big box dollar stores received the City Council’s OK at Tuesday’s meeting.
The council also awarded the bid to renovate the parking lot of the Lindsay-Strathmore Memorial Building and decided to not make any changes to its meeting procedures. Both of these items were carried over from the previous meeting’s agenda.
Public hearings were held on projects that would bring a Dollar General Store to the southwest corner of Hermosa Street and Mirage Avenue and a Family Dollar Store to the southeast corner of Mariposa Street and Highway 65. The council pushed the Family Dollar Store forward with a 4-0 vote — Danny Salinas left mid-meeting — but chose to bring the Dollar General Store plan back for additional discussion.
Both plans were presented to the council by Bill Zigler, city Planning and Economic Development director.
Dollar General would be located downtown and require demolishing two vacant buildings, one of which was home to the Citrus Exchange, while Family Dollar would be on the edge of town.
The Citrus Exchange has a long history in Lindsay but the building did not meet the historical standards set by the state, Zigler said.
The building for the Dollar General plan would retain some of the look and feel of the Citrus Exchange and a bronze plaque would be placed at the site commemorating the Exchange.
During the presentation on Dollar General, Zigler said a negative declaration — a statement that the project would not result in significant environmental impacts — was prepared and available to the public.
However, it was not included in the agenda packet and this was pointed out by Fresno lawyer Richard Harriman who spoke in opposition to both projects during the public hearings.
At the end of the public hearing, city attorney Julia Lew told the council they could hold off on voting on the Dollar General plan in order for the city “cross its Ts and dot its Is.”
Other concerns brought out during the two public hearings included, how these businesses would hurt the local “mom and pops” already in town, the historical significance of the Citrus Exchange building and the potential blight of empty buildings if the dollar stores went out of business. Councilwoman Pam Kimball was concerned with losing the Exchange building but after making enquiries she learned there was no interest in preserving the building.
“The citrus people were contacted and the packing house people were contacted and no one was interested in stepping up,” Kimball said.
No local business owners spoke during either public hearing.
Councilman Steven Mecum pointed out that having these businesses in town may actually entice more people to shop in Lindsay rather than in neighboring towns that have these types of dollar stores.
At the Feb. 12 meeting, with only four of the five members present — mayor Ramona Villareal-Padilla was ill — awarding of the bid to repave the memorial building parking lot to 99 Pipeline of Lindsay stalled due to a 2-2 vote — Mecum and Rosaena Sanchez cast the dissenting votes.
Although the council had allowed the city to take bids on the project at the Jan. 22 meeting, both Mecum and Sanchez did not want the project, saying the city should not incur the debt.
Mecum questioned doing the project that would require the city borrowing the money from a USDA grant fund. However, it was explained the grant, which was awarded some time ago and could only be used for such projects, was going to be repaid by the Lindsay Hospital District, so there was no cost to the city.
David Wendt of 99 Pipeline told of the impact the delay was having on his company due to this outcome being in limbo. He was one of seven people that spoke during public comment at Tuesday’s meeting on the parking lot project and the two dollar stores.
The company’s bid of $219,896 was $60,000 below the city’s budget for the project and $20,000 below the second-lowest bid.
“We had a good bid that is well below the budget so it was my assumption that we were going to move forward with that project,” he said. “So when other projects or bids come up we forgo those. So we make sure we clear our slate to do those projects and then we find out that well we (city council) are not sure if we are going to move forward. It will cause duress for us if this project moves aside because we put other projects aside believing this project was ours.”
Ultimately, 99 Pipeline was awarded the bid after Tuesday’s 3-2 vote, again Mecum and Sanchez cast no votes.
The council also approved a fence project for part of Centennial Park that would entail replacing a hedge with a 48-inch tubular metal fencing. Estimated cost is $8,000. City crews would install the fence. Costs would be covered by the city’s existing park grant.