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St. Charles council OKs zoning changes to welcome Dollar General

ST. CHARLES — Finishing what it started two weeks ago, the St. Charles City Council voted Tuesday night to re-zone 2.9 acres of downtown property, making way for a new store by national retailer Dollar General.

The addition of the store — along with the jobs and the boost to the St. Charles economy it will bring — is a big sign the economy in and around the city is starting to recover, Mayor John Schaber said.

"The fact that they're building is a good sign," he said. "I walk around town, and it's seeing sold signs on houses. It's seeing houses going up."

The vote officially re-zoned the former North Star Foods site, which has been vacant since the April 2009 fire that destroyed the food processing plant, from light industrial to downtown commercial. The new classification for the property will bring it in line with adjacent property, much of which also is zoned commercial.

St. Charles city administrator Nick Koverman said the next step for the land will be for it to be purchased by Dollar General, then have the company submit building plans for the site.


The council also approved an amendment to the downtown parking ordinance. During their negotiations with North Star Food owners, representatives from Dollar General had asked about getting variances to the parking ordinance. Schaber said that prompted the city to look at the existing ordinance to see if it needed changes.

In other business, the council approved and swore in a pair of new police officers. Schaber said one officer was needed to fill a void left by a departing officer, but the second one is a new job spot needed for the city.

Finally, the board approved five days worth of liquor licenses for Hugh Watson Post of the American Legion. The dates approved coincide with the Winona County Fair.

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