Pending council approval, a Dollar General discount store may open at 2811 W. Emaus Ave. Approval is required to rezone the 1.2-acre site for retail use.
The land is part of a larger 3.75-acre parcel that is currently zoned for light industrial use, and city administrators want it to stay that way.
The Community and Economic Development Committee considered the rezoning at Wednesday night’s meeting, but forwarded it to council without a recommendation.
Committee members Julio Guridy, Mike Schlossberg and Peter Schweyer need more time to weigh a citywide policy favoring industrial growth against an interest in maximizing land.
Though the parcel spent about 10 years on the market, Scott Unger, executive director of Allentown Economic Development Corporation, warned the Committee that if an industrial use arises in the future, the land will no longer be available.
According to Unger, 3.75 acres is bigger than the average tract and can support a large facility, which in turn could create more jobs than Dollar General.
But Unger assumes that all 3.75 acres are for sale. At Wednesay’s meeting, the parcel’s owner said he plans on selling only 1.2 acres and leasing the rest, which makes the use Unger imagines difficult to achieve.
The committee also heard doubts about whether the warehouse the property currently houses could support any industrial use. Its low ceilings, inadequate power supply and limited access would likely create further obstacles, making the land better suited to retail use.
Three other Dollar General stores currently operate within 10 miles of the proposed site.
A public hearing will be held on Sept. 5.