The developers have filed an initial application with the Escambia County Development Review Board for a new Dollar General store in Walnut Hill.
Plans indicate the store will be located at 7100 Highway 97, on the north side of the South Highway 99 intersection. There is currently one unoccupied single-family home on the 4.12-acre property, which sits across the intersection from a former farm supply retail store. .
The development is limited to 2.08 acres, including a 10,769 square foot store with 43 parking spaces and a new driveway connection to Highway 97 directly across from Highway 99 South. There are 35 trees on site, 19 of which will be removed. There are no wetlands on the property.
Until an update unanimously approved by the Escambia County Commission on August 19, RMU zoning only permitted commercial buildings up to 6,000 square feet with no provision to grant exceptions for construct a larger commercial building.
Now, retail space up to 15,000 square feet is allowed. Properties classified as RMUs in Escambia County are generally located near rural community centers and most are not currently used for agriculture. For a map of RMU zoning in Escambia County, click or tap here (pdf).
The plan is undergoing internal review by the Escambia County Development Review Board. There is no guarantee that it will ever be built after approval.
Last year, Dollar General previously announced a proposal for a store about a mile at the intersection of Highway 97 and Highway 99A in Walnut Hill, next to Ernest Ward Middle School. The proposed size of the store did not meet zoning requirements at the time (but would now after the BOCC vote). Additionally, there were some minor public backlash against the store due to its location on a curve on Highway 97 and its proximity to the college. Plans for this store have not advanced.