Roseville Commission Backs Preliminary Plat for Proposed Wal-Mart Store
But some citizens question need for big-box retailer.
But the commission's vote came only after a lengthy discussion during which some residents contended there hadn't be enough public notice about the proposal and questioned whether Roseville needs more retail development.
The giant Arkansas-based discounter wants to build a 160,000 square-foot store on about four acres on about a 14-acre parcel land that is bounded by County Road C, Cleveland Avenue, Twin Lakes Parkway and Prior Avenue. The proposal is also being advanced by owners of the property, Roseville Properties.
The commission's vote to support the preliminary plat came after city staff recommended approval, stating the preliminary plat falls within Roseville's comprehensive plan and zoning code, including a District 10 master plan for the Twin Lakes area. The commission's recommendation now goes to the City Council , which is expected to consider the issue at its Feb. 27 meeting.
The subject property is designated under the city's comprehensive plan as community mixed use and a corresponding zoning classification as community mixed use, according to a city report. The preliminary plat proposal has been prompted by Wal-Mart's plans to develop its store on the eastern side of the site and two smaller developments on the western side, according to the city planning division.
The city staff report said the Roseville's master plans for the Twin Lakes area express a preference for “support” retail uses (typically including convenience shops, dry cleaners, personal banking offices, and other uses that might save nearby employees vehicle trips during the work day).
"While the proposed (Wal-Mart) development is likely larger than what the master plan preferred, the master plan did not preclude larger stores and Walmart stores tend to contain pharmacies, photo labs, convenience items, and other features that would fit the “support retail” profile if offered in a different format,'' the city report said.
But Gary Grefenberg, a resident in southwest Roseville, blasted the city staff report, contending, "The Wal-Mart proposal has not been adequately vetted by staff. My main concern is not that Wal-Mart will destroy Roseville's quality of life. but the shallow and facile way in which the staff report dealt with the Comprehensive Plan's goals and policies."
For example, the staff report doesn't outline how the proposed Wal-Mart project is consistent with many of the Comprehensive Plan's non-transportation goals and policies, insisted Grefenberg, who is on the city Human Rights Commission and is co-chair of its Civic Engagement Task Force.
Meanwhile, another Roseville resident questioned why the Planning Commission had not hosted an open house meeting about the development. "It seems somewhat backwards to me to start with the assumption that Wal-Mart is putting up a store in Roseville," said Megan Dushin, also a member of the Civic Engagement Task Force.
In written statement, citizen Wendy Thompson said, "The last thing that is needed in this area is more retail. If the residents of Roseville can support the retail we already have -why are there multiple empty sites and so much more turnover of businesses?."
Thompson noted, for example, that there is a Wal-Mart only about six miles away off of Silver Lake Road in St. Anthony Village.
But some planning commissioners noted that zoning for the property permits the Wal-Mart retail development, thereby limiting the scope of their review in considering the preliminary plat.
Commissioner Michael Boguszewski said that while he understood some public frustration with the process and the project, he contended whether the Wal-Mart store is needed is more of a question for the market, not the city.
Given that the proposed Wal-Mart store is near interstates freeway and close to an industrial area, "there is no better site" in the city if the big-box retailer is coming to Roseville, Boguszewski said. And whether Wal-Mart stores are an asset or detriment to a community is "in the eye of the beholder," he said.
Meanwhile, planning commissioner John Gisselquist noted redevelopment efforts in Twin Lakes area have languished for years. "It's kind of a wasteland," he said. .
Only commissioner Peter Strohmeier opposed recommending approval of the preliminary plat (and a related vote disposal of a small portion of city-owner land)."I disagree that are hands are tied on the (zoning) code," Strohmeier said. "This is a big deal," he added, referring to the lack of an open house or other public outreach on the proposal.
But Dan Boerigter, another planning commissioner, countered that general discussions about how the land in the Twin Lakes area should be used have been going on for years. Most recently, the city revised the regulating map for the area, he said.
This isn't the first time there has been a proposal for a large retail development in the Twin Lakes area. Within the last decade, some developers proposed putting a Costco at the site. But that plan got derailed by legal challenges.
To see the city's background report click on to this link.