LITTLE FALLS -- Stormwater and traffic congestion were the main concerns the Little Falls City Council discussed Monday during a planning meeting regarding the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter site in Little Falls.
The issues stem from public comments gathered through the environmental assessment worksheet process.
Ken Haberman of Landmark Environmental reviewed the worksheet. The city council is being advised to make a negative declaration on an environmental impact statement. The worksheet findings of fact were not discussed Monday.
The council is expected to make a decision in regard to an environmental impact statement Sept. 12.
Kevin Hoglund and Bryant Ficek of Bonestroo Anderlik and Associates of St. Paul addressed the traffic concerns along Highway 27, east of Highway 10, and how to control the increased volume of traffic.
They recommend that Highway 27 be turned into a four-lane roadway with a center median to be built by 2030. They also said a signal light could be installed at 16th Street near Perkins as well as left and right turn lanes constructed near 18th Street, which would be one of the proposed accesses to the superstore.
Hoglund said regardless of the proposed superstore, the city may have to eventually address these traffic concerns. He also suggested the city work with the Minnesota Department of Transportation on a traffic plan in regard to funding.
Don Anderson, of Widseth Smith Nolting and the city's engineer, said Wal-Mart proposes to exceed the city's requirements in regard to controlling stormwater.
Anderson said Wal-Mart also proposes to meet city wetland requirements.
Council member Mike LeMieur expressed concern about the economic impact a superstore would have on Little Falls businesses.
"How do you get the answers on what the economic impact would be unless you do an EIS," he said.
Peter Vogel, Little Falls city attorney, said the economic impact is not part of the environmental assessment worksheet. He said the city council could not order an environmental impact statement on economic impact alone.
Council president Michael Doucette said, "We don't regulate the number of restaurants here or the number of stores. The people make their own choices on where they want to go."
The proposed site of the superstore is off Highway 10 near the Highway 27 exit north of the Country Inn and Suites. The proposed building would be 207,203 square feet and would include groceries, a liquor store, an auto center, a gas station, a garden center and a photo center.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.