The Andover Planning and Zoning Commission will give the public a chance to speak at its Tuesday, Aug. 14 meeting about a proposed Walmart at the former Pov’s Sports Bar site.The meeting starts at 8:01 p.m., which is one hour later than normal, because it is primary election night.
Walmart would like to construct an almost 150,000 square-foot store on the northwest corner of Bunker Lake Boulevard and Jay Street.
According to Community Development Director David Carlberg, the facility would include a full grocery area, a separate liquor store within the building and an outside area for a temporary greenhouse during the warmer months.
The Aug. 14 meeting will be public hearings on the preliminary plat, the proposed liquor store and the outdoor temporary seasonal sales and storage area, according to Carlberg.
The commission could act and forward this to the Andover City Council for its Aug. 21 meeting or the commission could table action until a future meeting.
A group of Andover residents calling itself Andover for Smart Growth has raised numerous concerns pertaining to traffic, pollution and impact on the environment impact and surrounding residential neighborhoods and businesses.
“We know somebody inevitably will go in there, but what is the best fit,” said Laurie Mount, one of the Andover for Smart Growth group leaders.
The group tried to get Walmart to complete an environmental assessment worksheet, but the council in early June determined that the normal review process by the city and agencies such as the Coon Creek Watershed District and the Anoka County Highway Department would address the residents’ concerns.
These two government entities have reviewed Walmart’s proposal over the past few months and come up with preliminary concepts that the city council must also approve, according to Carlberg.
The Anoka County Union randomly asked several residents over the past couple of months what they thought about Walmart coming into Andover and there were mixed opinions.
Jason Brisbin and Bernard Blake do not understand why it is needed when there is a Walmart in Coon Rapids in the area of Round Lake Boulevard and Highway 10. Blake was concerned that the new Andover Walmart could lead to the Coon Rapids Walmart closing, which means another building vacancy.
“We don’t need a Walmart across from Target like we don’t need a CVS across from Walgreens,” Blake said.
Angie Quistad said it does not make sense to have Walmart be right across the road from Target.
On the other hand, there are people who are interested in seeing a Walmart open in Andover. While some opponents have stated concerns about Walmart hurting Target and Festival Foods, Tammy Lund likes the increased competition and she does not feel Target sells enough groceries.
P. Schert, who asked that her first name not be used, typically shops at Walmart near where she works. She would like a Walmart closer to home and would shop for groceries there.
Lorrie Harder, a Ham Lake resident, is OK with the proposed Walmart in Andover because she likes shopping at Walmart, but did question the number of Walmarts being developed. She is aware of another Walmart being proposed on the former Rice Creek Gardens property in Blaine in the area of Highway 65 and 117th Avenue. In addition, Walmart is looking at another Blaine store just off I-35W and Lexington Avenue.
“I love Walmart, but it can get saturated,” Harder said.
Reviewing the proposal
Walmart’s proposal has been scrutinized by government officials for over four months. The city of Andover received an official application from the McCombs Frank Roos Associates, Inc. consulting firm on behalf of Walmart March 20.
The site is just under 20 acres and there will be some minor impacts to existing wetland, but no mitigation is needed, according to Carlberg.
The concept traffic plan calls for there to be a three-quarters access at Bunker Lake Boulevard and Martin Street, Carlberg said. The intersection presently goes to the south to Andover Cinema and other businesses, but not to the north. Those wanting to go east on Bunker would still need to go to Jay Street.
Walmart would like an access off Jay Street for customers and a second one for commercial trucks, according to Carlberg. This request would be reviewed by Andover because the city owns Jay Street.
Nathan Munstermann raised a concern at the May 1 council meeting about the overnight parking of campers if this was a 24-hour Walmart.
On reviewing the city code, Carlberg said Walmart could not have a 24-hour store unless it requests a zoning text amendment or the council changes the code on its own. Either action would require another public hearing.
Carlberg recently informed Walmart that the general business district that the site is in does not allow 24-hour stores, but he is not aware what Walmart plans to do.
McDonalds on the corner of Bunker Lake and Round Lake boulevards and the nearby Kwik Trip at the southeast corner of Bunker Lake Boulevard and Jay Street are respectively in shopping center and industrial zoned districts that allow 24-hour stores.
Eric Hagen is at email@example.com