The Crow Wing County Board voted 3-2 Tuesday to send a letter to the Baxter City Council advising the council to carefully weigh its decision about the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter project.
The county board expressed concern about whether the city council has enough information, without an Environmental Impact Statement, to make a decision about the project.
The Baxter City Council will vote on the EIS at its June 3 meeting. The Baxter Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday, on a 3-2 vote, recommended the city council not require an EIS.
Commissioner Terry Sluss, who represents District 3, which includes the proposed Wal-Mart site, said he was given five minutes at the planning and zoning commission meeting to state his case for the project and that was not enough time. He said he spent hours putting together a 21-page document that summarizes his concerns.
"My concern is they do not have enough information," said Sluss. "We don't have direct authority here, but we do have an agreement with them regarding the Highway 371 Corridor plan."
Sluss said he has environmental concerns about the impact of a supercenter on nearby Perch Lake and associated wetlands, including the Mississippi River watershed. He also expressed his concerns about the impact on wildlife and the impact on groundwater quality.
Commissioner Ed Larsen said he was surprised the Baxter Planning and Zoning Commission made the decision based on the information it received.
Chairman Dewey Tautges and Commissioner John Ferrari voted against sending the letter to Baxter because they did not want to interfere with the city's business.
The proposed Wal-Mart development in Baxter is on 34 wooded acres near the intersection of Highway 371 and Glory Road, south of Home Depot. The proposal includes a 192,042 square-foot Wal-Mart with a 15,460 square-foot garden center and outdoor display area and eight gas fuel pumps with a small pay station.
The land, which is currently undeveloped, is zoned regional commercial. The site has 28 acres of forestland with additional grasslands and wetlands. If the project proceeds as planned there would be 27 acres of impervious surface on the site.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.