BAXTER -- A Wal-Mart Super Center may be in the works for Baxter.
Central Lakes Properties LLC, out of Minneapolis, Monday applied for minor subdivision preliminary plat approval for 34 acres of land off of Glory Road, just west of Highway 371.
The preliminary plat proposed by Central Lakes Properties calls for a 207,502 square-foot Wal-Mart Super Center, which will include a grocery store, gas station and an auto repair center.
The development company also applied for conditional use permits for the gas station and the auto repair center; as well as for garden supply center; furniture sales; an eye center; a photo center; outdoors sales for Christmas, Halloween, and garden and landscape products; and for forest land conversion.
A variance also was requested by the development company for a loading dock.
Central Lakes Properties purchased the land on which they are proposing to locate the Wal-Mart Super Center in 2000 from Park Region Limited Partnership, whose general partner is John Sullivan.
It is unknown what would become of the current Wal-Mart located in Baxter. John Vesio, Wal-Mart corporate community affairs manager, and Dennis Klohs, with Central Lakes Properties, could not be reached for comment today. An assistant manager at the Wal-Mart in Baxter today said she was unaware that a Wal-Mart Super Center was being proposed in Baxter.
The preliminary plat, the CUP applications and the variance request will go before the Baxter Planning and Zoning Commission at 7 p.m. Feb. 11.
One group that will be attending the commission meeting is the Coalition for Responsible Development.
The coalition has sought a moratorium from Crow Wing County, Brainerd and Baxter on retail developments of more than 150,000 square feet, specifically superstores, until those governmental entities approve updated comprehensive plans.
The coalition believes store like a Wal-Mart Super Center drive out smaller family-run businesses, take away as many jobs as they create and pay less in wages. The coalition also believes the revenues don't stay in local banks and they don't do business with other local businesses.
"What we need to do as community, which includes Brainerd, Baxter and Crow Wing County, is to pull together," said coalition member and former Brainerd City Council member Debbie Olander. "We need to support what we have now, as far as businesses that are locally owned, independent, and the backbone of community we live in."
Baxter City Planner Todd Holman said that if Central Lakes Properties meets the requirements of the planning of the site, the city is in no position to deny the superstore concept.
Olander said the coalition would be putting information together for area residents and business owners about the dangers of superstores. She also hoped local business owners would meet to discuss the issue.
"This is devastating to me, but we have to look at how we can pull together as a community to make the community stronger," said Olander. "I don't believe Wal-Mart will do that for our community, in any degree."
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