The Dollar General project which will replace the Archway Frosty/Granite’s building on the southwest corner of Rio Linda Blvd. and M Street will go before the County’s “Project Review” committee on June 12th.
Ideally, once it clears project review, it should come to the Rio Linda Elverta Community Planning Advisory Committee (CPAC) who will next meet on Wednesday June 26th, most likely at the Community Center to accommodate a larger crowd.
When this project was first announced nine months ago in October, it was a done deal. Dollar General had all the entitlements they needed from the county to start moving dirt, before ever having to come before the community advisory committee. The project got held up when DG decided they didn’t want to comply with the Downtown Rio Linda Special Planning Area requirements.
The Downtown Rio Linda SPA was enacted in November of 2015, not even four years ago. The document is intended to “guide the revitalization of Downtown Rio Linda according to the community’s vision of establishing an attractive and vibrant Downtown main street environment that draws people, activities, and commerce while maintaining the community’s historic small town charm.”
Section 3.2.2 of the SPA Design Guidelines states that “Building entrances should generally be oriented towards M Street and other primary streets to create a visually appealing and inviting pedestrian atmosphere.” and “Primary building entrances should overlook streets, plazas, or courtyards”
The initial design DG brought to the county was dated August 2nd 2018, and featured a large back wall facing M Street west of RLB. The front door was on the southeast corner of the building, facing Rio Linda Blvd.
This plan was filed with the County on October 1st 2018. By December 21st, it had been withdrawn.
On January 25th 2019, the project was re-submitted to the County, with a redesigned site plan.
This plan, while meeting the requirement of having the front door facing M Street, does not meet the requirement of having the building on the street corner with no setback. Instead, the parking lot now sits on the corner of M Street and RLB, which breaks up the “walkable” interface to the street.
For reasons unknown, on April 29th, DG went back to the original plan, with the front door facing Rio Linda Blvd. and the parking lot to the south of the building.
They did, however, improve the appearance of the building to conform to the SPA guidelines. First, the old elevation rendering:
And the most recent submittal:
So progress is being made.
However, if Dollar General wants to build here they should have to meet the requirements of the codes enacted just 3 1/2 years ago, and place the entrance of the building at the corner of M Street and Rio Linda Blvd. right underneath and facing the arch.
(Imagine the business they would do on parade days!)
This is exactly why the SPA document was created. There should be no variance. If they don’t want to build to code, and don’t want to build with the intent of being a good community member and embracing the walkable downtown concept which WE decided we want to see in our downtown district, they should look elsewhere.
Rio Linda isn’t going to wither and die without a Dollar General.
“Building entrances should generally be oriented towards M Street and other primary streets to create a visually appealing and inviting pedestrian atmosphere.”Downtown Rio Linda Special Planning Area section 3.2.2
The Project Review Committee will be meeting on June 12th at 9am.
The CPAC meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 26th at 7pm. CPAC meeting usually happen at the Depot Building in Depot Park, but this one will be moved to a larger location, most likely the Community Center.