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Environment Exemption Granted for Roseville Wal-Mart Despite Citizens Group's Request

The Roseville City Council postponed voting on preliminary and final plat approval.

The Roseville City Council moved forward with the proposed Twin Lakes Wal-Mart store Monday evening, rejecting .

The Council's vote came as it also heard citizen input about preliminary and final plat approval and a development agreement to build a 160,000 square-foot discount store in Roseville's Twin Lakes area.

The Council voted 3-2—with council members Tammy Pust and Tammy McGehee dissenting—to exempt the store from an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW), a requirement that had held up the project, because, as some members said, a previous environmental study had already addressed the issues the EAW would target.

“I believe the [Alternative Urban Areawide Review] looked at a worst case scenario that is significantly worse than what is being proposed here,” Mayor Dan Roe said.

After hearing from several Roseville residents, who all had critical words for the proposed megastore, the Council decided shortly before 11 p.m. to postpone a vote on Wal-Mart’s preliminary plat, final plat, and development agreement.

The council’s next scheduled meeting is June 11 and it is likely that either Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will extend the council’s decision-making time until past that date or else the Roseville Council will hold a special session before its  current June 4 action deadline.

“We know that Roseville is a great community,” Wal-Mart attorney Susan Steinwall said. “The more retail there is, the better off everybody is.”

More than a dozen Roseville residents spoke against the proposed store, arguing that it would decrease property values, increase crime and harm the environment. They also said they fear the retai project will exacerbate traffic near the 14-acre parcel of land, which is bounded by County Road C, Cleveland Avenue, Twin Lakes Parkway and Prior Avenue.

Five representatives of SWARN [Solidarity of West Area Roseville Neighbors], a citizens group opposing the proposed Wal-Mart, spoke together against the superstore.

SWARN member Mike Gregory, a Roseville resident since 1991, said he didn’t “believe we need to subsidize Wal-Mart to the tune of $1.6 million.”

“Wal-Mart should not be considered as a community-based business but as a national chain that will destroy many local businesses,” Gregory said, citing studies where cities lost local businesses after the opening of a Wal-Mart and claiming that Wal-Marts increase poverty. “Think about the impact on the stores in and around Rosedale.”

Sue Gilbertson, another SWARN member, said that data she received from the Ramsey County Sherriff’s Office indicate that a Vadnais Heights Wal-Mart received more than four times as many police calls the SuperTarget “virtually across the street.”

Roseville Police Chief Rick Mathwig said he expects his department would receive 700 to 900 more calls for service a year if the Twin Lakes Wal-Mart is built.

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Tony Nickelsen May 22, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I'd like to commend the members of SWARN who have been collectively active and working hard for months in trying to stop the proposed Walmart Store from going in at Twin Lakes on County Road C & Cleveland Ave. I've agreed pretty much with there entire arguments going forward on why we shouldn't build it! The only transgressions I might take issue with are these: 1. Organized groups like SWARN can be effective, but don't always sway govt. officials from moving forward with various projects such as this one no matter the outcome. 2. It would and could be more effective if we had more citizens not affiliated with any group come forward to support/not support these projects. The more overall voices being heard, the louder the message is made loud and clear at council meetings. So, a friendly message to Roseville Citiens, keep those letters, e-mail's and phone calls coming whatever your views are!
Scott Carlson May 22, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Tony, you raise some good points. That's why the Human Rights Commission has had a special Civic Engagement Task Force looking into ways to increase citizen involvement in city government.
Jon Williams May 23, 2012 at 09:50 AM
Tony, well said.
Zac Farber (Editor) May 23, 2012 at 04:26 PM
There were about half a dozen citizens unaffiliated with SWARN who spoke against the proposed Wal-Mart store at the Monday meeting.
Drake Anderson February 18, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Is it me, or just a coincidence? The three members of our City Councile who voted for the massive spending of mulit-millions of our dollars to rehab all our parks (even if these parks are in good conditon already), all live in close proximity to these parks. These same Council members are now quick to push the Wal Mart store with all the negative impact it brings to Roseville. However, you don't see any of these council members living in the shadow of the Wal Mart project. Perhaps the concept of NIMBY applies as long as they don't have to endure the increased traffic, police calls, noise and construction polution. They live miles away enjoying their parks and shopping at Rosedale. It is time for the Roseville citizens wake up and let your voices be heard.

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