Family Dollar may be one step closer to breaking ground in Bainbridge, now that the property the national chain has purchased may soon be rezoned.
The Bainbridge Plan Commission moved Wednesday night to rezone three sections of the new grocery store property at 209 E. U.S. 36, formerly the old gas station, from residential to business.
Their recommendation will go before the Town Council as early as next week.
It was the first appeal of its kind for the five-person board since the town adopted a zoning ordinance in November.
Putnam County Planner Kim Hyten, who's office administers the Bainbridge zoning ordinance, told members of the commission Wednesday he would try to have a resolution ready for next week's council meeting which would allow the company to begin work soon.
As for rezoning the area, board members said it was an easy decision to make.
"It probably should have been zoned that way to begin with," Commission Vice President Jim Nelson said.
Hyten agreed the rezoning was justified.
"(The store) will provide a service for the community," he said.
To fit the zoning requirements, the planner explained, Family Dollar contractors will have to make a few additions to their construction plans including adding sidewalks in front of the store, as well as landscaping.
"Sidewalks and trees shouldn't hold up a commercial venture like this," Hyten said.
Meanwhile, the couple who sold part of the property to Family Dollar say they are thrilled with the commission's decision.
Bainbridge area residents Leon and Donna Tippin said they had been working on a deal with a developer for the company since November.
"Ever since he walked up to our door," Leon Tippin said.
The couple also own another piece of land adjacent to the Family Dollar plot.
"We hope this will bring more interest in development," Donna Tippin said.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based company, hopes to have a 92,000- square-foot store open in Bainbridge by August.
According to the store's website, Family Dollar includes consumer departments such as health and beauty, automotive, food and candy, housewares, paper, hardware and paint, pets, home cleaning aids, laundry and storage, domestics, pictures frames and clothing and shoes.
Family Dollar operates over 6,000 stores in the United Sates. The company is 47 years old.
Representatives from Family Dollar say the store in Bainbridge should also serve customers in nearby Roachdale and Heritage Lake who don't wish to drive to Greencastle, Danville or Crawfordsville.
A virtual tour of a store is available at www.family dollar.com.