LONG BEACH — Planned construction of a Dollar General store in the heart of downtown Long Beach is no more, city officials announced last week.
Long Beach City Administrator David Glasson informed city councilors on Jan. 13 that the proposed development of an outlet of the discount chain on a vacant Bolstad Avenue West lot will not be moving forward. The city council approved a design review for the proposed store on a 3-2 vote at a meeting last fall, clearing the way for the applicants to obtain a building permit.
The planned development received significant pushback from the public. Several business owners testified that the store would have a negative effect on local small businesses, and other speakers said the store, along with its location — just a stone’s throw away from the Bolstad beach approach arch — would harm the city’s image and branding.
As they voted to approve the store’s design review, a majority of city councilors and officials stated that the city cannot tell people what type of business they may or may not operate on private property, so long as they have gone through the appropriate process. Glasson said the city can only dictate what a lot is to be used for — a retail space, in this case — and not the specific type of business. Long Beach Community Development Director Ariel Smith concurred.
“The use is what we govern — it’s a retail use — not what franchise it is, who owns it or how it’s operated. That is out of our control, as a government entity,” Smith said.
While there won’t be a Dollar General store on Bolstad, Glasson said the developer’s representatives are still looking for a lot in the area on which to build the store, “but haven’t identified one at this time.”
Dollar General stores have been built or are being proposed in rural communities throughout Washington and Oregon in recent years, including in Cathlamet, Gearhart, Clatskanie, Rainier, McCleary, Napavine, Goldendale and John Day, among others. The discount retail chain has more than 16,000 stores in the U.S.
For now, the Bolstad Avenue West lot will remain vacant, as it has for nearly the past 20 years.