The city of Andover has almost all the information it needs to review a proposal to bring a Walmart to the community.
The proposed Walmart would be located at the former Pov’s Sports Bar site at the northwest corner of Bunker Lake Boulevard and Jay Street. It would sell groceries with a separate area where beer stronger than 3.2 percent liquor content, wine and hard liquor would be sold, according to Community Development Director David Carlberg.
Carlberg said the city needs to see more information about what Walmart is planning regarding exterior storage.
Staff review of the application shows that Walmart will need a conditional use permit (CUP) from the city for a storage area outside the building and for the sale of alcohol, she said.
It also will need council approval of a preliminary plat for the whole site of about 20 acres.
However, staff cannot tell how big the exterior storage is or what would be in it.
Besides this, Carlberg said staff considers the application submitted by the McCombs Frank Roos Associates, Inc. consulting firm on behalf of Walmart complete enough to continue staff review and the process of getting this issue before the Andover Planning and Zoning Commission and the city council.
Carlberg said the public hearings on the preliminary plat and the CUP for outside storage are tentatively scheduled for the Tuesday, May 8 commission meeting. If the commission, which is an advisory group, makes a recommendation on Walmart’s proposal, the council would take it up at its May 15 meeting, according to Carlberg.
If the council approves the Walmart preliminary plat and outside storage request, Carlberg said staff would finalize the landscaping and site plan issues based on council direction. The building department would evaluate the floor plan of the approximately 150,000 square-foot main building. The fire department would review the building to make sure it meets fire code.
ABC Newspapers left a message with a Walmart spokesperson last week to ask questions about the proposal, but did not receive a return call before this edition went to press.
A group of Andover residents concerned about Walmart developing on the former Pov’s site met for the first time March 25 and planned to meet again April 1, according to Laurie Mount, who lives near the proposed Walmart site.
According to Mount, the 10 to 15 residents who came to the March 25 meeting were from several neighborhoods, including one east of Hanson Boulevard and north of Bunker Lake Boulevard, one north of Andover High School, one east of Andover Elementary, one north and east of Oak View Middle School and one in the area of Nightingale Street and 157th Avenue.
Mount said they are planning to have some representation at council meetings leading up to mid-May to share their concerns.
Mount is concerned about whether Andover’s roads can handle the increased traffic. She wonders how Walmart would impact Festival Foods, Northgate Liquor and Target, for example. If any of these existing businesses go out of business, there would be another vacant commercial space to fill, she said.
Mount wants to know more about how the wetlands and wildlife on the property will be impacted and how this large development would impact police and fire resources.
At this point, Carlberg said a lot of work is going on behind the scenes to evaluate Walmart’s preliminary plat proposal. The city engineering department is evaluating elevations and where the water will flow. The Anoka County Highway Department is reviewing Walmart’s access proposal, which would be to have the main access off Jay Street and a right-in, right-out access on Bunker Lake Boulevard.
The number of parking spaces is unknown because the county highway department may need additional right of-way for future work on Bunker Lake Boulevard, Carlberg said.
At this point, the city only sees a general configuration of where the parking spots would be, he said.
Carlberg said Walmart must meet city code requirements for parking spaces. Otherwise, the business would need to apply for a variance.
According to Carlberg, the applicant has paid regular city fees and an escrow totaling $5,085 to cover the costs of city staff review, recording the information with the county and advertising for the public hearing.
If further review is needed, Carlberg said the applicant may have to submit additional escrow.
In addition to this Andover site, Walmart is also planning to build two stores in Blaine at the former Rice Creek Gardens site on the west side of Highway 65 at 11465 Ulysses St. N.E. and at the southeast side of I-35W and Lexington Avenue.
Property taxes impact
ABC Newspapers asked Carlberg how much in property taxes a Walmart in Andover would likely pay each year.
Carlberg said the county property tax department would have to evaluate the development if it happens, but said a Walmart on the former’s Pov’s site would likely pay more than $350,000 each year in property taxes. This is split between many governmental entities including the city, county, school district, regional rail authority, watershed district and so on.
The Target store in Andover Station paid approximately $350,000 in property taxes last year. According to Carlberg, this Target is about 140,000 square feet compared with the proposed Walmart of about 150,000 square feet. Target is on a 12.67-acre parcel compared, while the proposed Walmart is on an almost 20-acre site.
According to county records, Pov’s property tax due in 2011 was about $80,000. This is just the property tax and does not include the city’s special assessment for the Jay Street construction project. Pov’s did not pay any property taxes or assessments in 2011 or 2010 and did not pay the full amount in 2009.
Including the principal amounts, interest and penalties, Pov’s had a delinquent tax amount totalling $418,230.87 as of March 15, according to county records. This amount would have to be paid once the property sale closes and the funds would be distributed to the different governmental entities.
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org