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Dollar General proposed for northeastern Harford

The three men responsible for building and designing a Dollar General discount retail store in Dublin did not have one visitor for their community input meeting Wednesday evening, other than a reporter for The Aegis and a few walk-ins from a fire and EMS association function in the same building.

The meeting, which is required by Harford County as part of the development approval process, was held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the training room of the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company's headquarters on Castleton Road.

Developers have applied to build a 9,100-square-foot store on 1.56 acres off Route 1 (Conowingo Road), and west of the intersection with Route 136 (Whiteford Road). The land is zoned B3.

Fire company officials were also hosting the monthly dinner for the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association, the parent organization for the county's volunteer fire and EMS companies.

J. Alan Thompson, a member of the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company, said Wednesday was Darlington's turn to host the monthly dinner.

Jamie Sechler, an engineer with the Salisbury firm of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc., talked shop with Mark James and Tyler Baldwin, both principals in Capital Development Partners LLC of Columbia, S.C.

"We're a preferred developer for Dollar General," Baldwin said. "We've built about 100 stores for them in seven states."

Dollar General Corporation is headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tenn.; the company, which is billed as "the nation's largest small-box discount retailer" on its website, operates 10,000 stores in 40 states, including Maryland.

Dollar General stores can be found in five locations in Harford County, including Aberdeen, Bel Air, Edgewood, Havre de Grace and Whiteford, according to a locator map on the company's website.

James said the Dublin store would be the first built through his company in Harford, however. His and Baldwin's firm has overseen construction of stores in Rising Sun in Cecil County, and on the Eastern Shore.

Company officials reported $16.02 billion in net sales for 2012, 8.2 percent higher than the $14.81 billion reported for 2011, according to the Dollar General website.

"They're the real deal," Baldwin said. "They've been around a long time, good corporate citizen."

Visitors to the community input meeting could see artistic renderings of the exterior of the proposed store and a preliminary plan, which showed the layout of the store, pads for the HVAC unit, Dumpster and loading, plus septic facilities and 46 parking spaces.

Sechler, who developed the preliminary plan, called it "your prototypical Dollar General layout," designed to meet Harford County codes.

The grassy plot, which is unoccupied by any structures but has a short driveway, is next to a building housing the Dublin Cleaners & Laundromat. A Wawa convenience store is a short distance to the east, and the Wawa is directly across Route 136 from a Royal Farms convenience store.

"We have good parking and good prices, and name-brand products," Baldwin said.

James added: "Easy access."

James said later via text message that his group stayed until 8 p.m., but no one showed up "specifically for our project."

James said "several" people who were attending the Fire & EMS Association event dropped by and asked about the Dollar General store.

"All positive feedback," he reported.

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