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Site plans for a proposed Dollar General off Eighth Street and Roanoke Avenue have been approved.

The planning and development department, after a thorough examination by the city’s Development Review Committee, approved the site plans late Friday, department Director Kelly Lasky said today.

The action by the department means the use of the property for the retail business and associated land development is in compliance with the city’s land use ordinance.

The committee is made up of the planning department, the fire marshal, public works, Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District, Dominion Energy, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the city’s engineering consultant DM2 Engineering.

Dominion and RRSD reviewed utility connections such as overhead wires and availability of service locations such as water and sewer lines.

Public works looked at driveway access and refuse collection compliance.

Lasky said the fire marshal looked at nearest fire hydrants, the planned use of the building and the type of materials being stored inside as well as fire truck and apparatus accessibility.

Other considerations in reviewing and ultimately approving the plans was making sure the parking lot was sufficiently lit and also making sure lighting did not cause unnecessary light pollution to adjacent properties.

The committee reviewed plans for landscaping and screening between residential and commercial uses and reviewed stormwater management issues so that grading and changes do not create any negative impact.

One of the major concerns the committee had was for pedestrian safety at Eighth Street and Roanoke Avenue and Eighth and Jackson streets, Lasky said. “In the last few months the negotiations centered on concerns for pedestrian safety, considering the amount of cars going in and out and especially in consideration of the high school.”

Final approval was conditioned upon placement of high visibility crosswalks at both Eighth Street and Roanoke Avenue and Eighth and Jackson streets.

Every site plan the committee reviews gets the same treatment, Lasky said. “For this project there was a lot of attention centered on both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. We know there’s been a (pedestrian) fatality at Eighth Street and Roanoke Avenue. After several rounds of plan changes and review they (the developers) have satisfied our interpretation of the codes.”

However, Lasky said, any decision or final order of the land use administrator can be appealed within 30 days of the date of the decision, which in this case would be 30 days from January 25.

The board of adjustment would meet to consider the appeal within 30 days of receipt of a completed application for appeal.

“When an appeal is filed it stays the decision made,” she said. “If one (appeal) is made we would have to immediately issue a stop work order.”

The duty of the board of adjustment is to review the facts of the application from both sides in a quasi judicial setting to determine whether the land use administrator made the correct decision, or whether the plans should be modified or reversed.

The board of adjustment takes the place of the land use administrator in these settings and any decision made must be done so by a super majority vote.

Members can’t discuss the matter prior to the hearing and must remain impartial until the hearing. “Arguments have to be fact-based to justify whether the correct decision was made and can’t be opinion-based or lay opinion,” Lasky said.