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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