Dollar General store proposed for field across from Milford’s Pine Valley apartments

MILFORD – A Dollar General store is proposed for the field near the Pine Valley apartments in west Milford, and last week, Planning Board members expressed some qualms about the discount store’s design.

The 9,100-square-foot store could be built diagonally across Wilton Road from the new apartment complex and directly across from where the old Ram in the Thicket Inn had been for many years.

Representatives from the retail chain brought plans to the board’s May 20 meeting for what was termed a “loose, conceptual” discussion.

“There is a very beautiful brick structure across the road,” said board Chairwoman Janet Langdell. “I think we need to look into the context of where this is going … you’re entering a heavily residential neighborhood.”

The lot is located in the town’s ICI (Integrated-Commercial-Industrial) district, but the lot also comes under the West Elm Corridor ordinance, which bans flat roofs, she said.

Austin Turner, for Bohler Engineering, said Dollar General typically doesn’t vary its building designs, except to upgrade facade materials.

Vice Chairman Tom Sloan also said the appearance of the building coming from Wilton and from Milford should be considered.

Also discussed were lighting, hours of operation and the possible location of 32 parking spaces

Planners, however, did say there may be a need for a convenience store for that area, which is close to the Wilton line. Downtown Wilton has no store that sells food.

“One thing I keep hearing from folks in Wilton is that there is no place to buy bread or milk,” Langdell said.

Board member Paul Amato noted that the way the store was located on the end of the land parcel, there would be room for other development, such as a restaurant or a hotel.

The 19th century Pine Valley Mill has been renovated into 50 units of affordable apartments, and the builders recently were given an historical preservation award.

Turner said Dollar General carries some groceries and other products that you would find in a CVS, but without a pharmacy.

On its website Dollar General, which is based in Tennessee, says it has “more stores than any other retailer in America,” and is “the nation’s largest small-box discount retailer,” with 11,000 stores in 50 states.

When asked where board members could see new stores that Dollar General has built, Turner mentioned one on East Hollis Street in Nashua and another in Westminister, Mass.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at kcleveland@cabinet.com or 673-3100, ext. 304.