Dollar Tree franchise ok for Cotati
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By Dave Williams  November 28, 2013 12:00 am

Cotati may have an ordinance limiting the number of franchise-based fast food restaurants allowed within its city limits, but that ordinance doesn’t apply to other franchise-type businesses.

The Dollar Tree recently has leased space on East Cotati Avenue and soon will open a store. The Dollar Tree currently has two stores located in Santa Rosa and one in Rohnert Park.

The majority of Cotati residents have always been leery of big-box franchises locating to their city and taking away from the city’s small-time, quirky charm (notice the uproar over Lowe’s moving in a few years ago). They are particularly adamant in their opposition to fast-food type businesses, but not much of a ruckus has been raised about The Dollar Tree.

Because it is not a fast-food restaurant, the Dollar Tree won’t have to face the same type of scrutiny by city officials as a fast-food joint.

 “The Dollar Tree use was allowed by right in the zone where they located so all they had to do was pull building permits to do the improvements they wanted and obtain a zoning clearance/business license,” Cotati Community Development Director Vicki Parker said. “There were no talks with them beforehand. I’m not sure how they chose Cotati.”

With Cotati loosening its guidelines to allow more formula-based fast-food restaurants (FBFFR), 11 of these types of restaurants will be allowed within city limits, but none in the immediate downtown area. Thus far, according to Parker, Subway, which has a store on East Cotati Avenue, has been the only fast-food chain to file paperwork to open another establishment in Cotati on Gravenstein Highway. Parker said Subway’s application to open in the Apple Valley Shopping Center currently is under review and should go to the Cotati Planning Commission after the first of the year.

“We have regular and frequent inquiries from potential businesses that are looking for commercial space in Cotati,” Parker said. “The vast majority of them are small, independent and local operators. We believe we have space for a variety of business ownership types in the City that can bring goods and services to our residents.”

What the long-term effect of The Dollar Tree locating in Cotati is unknown, particularly with a store so close by on Redwood Drive in Rohnert Park, but almost any type of business that will fill a store front in Cotati is a welcome development.

“In the immediate timeframe, they have leased previously empty space and provide an additional outlet for goods to Cotati residents,” Parker said. “We hope they’re successful.”

Added Cotati City Manager Dianne Thompson, “We are very glad to have the Dollar Tree Store join our community. They will expand our retail market.”

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