Public can weigh in on possible new Blaine Walmart

For the next 30 days, starting June 24, the city of Blaine will be accepting public comment on a preliminary environmental study that evaluates potential impacts of a Walmart development proposed on the north side of Ball Road in Blaine.

Walmart has not filed an official application to construct an 182,171 square-foot store and 24,900 square feet of retail, office, bank or restaurant uses, but the community has known for some time that the large commercial retailer is interested in this 39-acre site east of Lexington Avenue and south of I-35W.

Its consultant MFRA, Inc. completed the environmental assessment worksheet on which the city of Blaine is now inviting the community and government agencies to comment.

Before voting unanimously to start this public review of the environmental investigation document, the Blaine City Council stressed that this is just another step in a long review process.

“Passing this tonight does not mean the city is endorsing or voting yes or no on Walmart,” Councilmember Dave Clark said. “This is a procedural task that we do with any large development. It’s just part of our due diligence and part of our regulatory process.”

According to Community Development Director Bryan Schafer, the council in August would determine whether an additional environmental study is necessary.

If it feels Walmart supplied enough information on issues such as ecological impacts to the property and animals, water and wastewater needs, controlling erosion, hauling in fill and disposal of hazardous wastes during construction, Walmart could subsequently file a development application with the city and kick off another round of review.

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This would include a public hearing at a Blaine Planning Commission meeting.

That would be when the majority of the neighborhood’s traffic concerns could be addressed, the council said. Although the environmental assessment worksheet does address traffic for the site, the adjacent neighborhood said it does not address how local streets in front of their homes would be impacted.

“I have yet to hear one good common sense reason to go forward with this project,” said neighborhood resident Harold Hollander.

Councilmember Dick Swanson asked that Circle Pines and Lino Lakes receive a copy of the environmental planning document so they could also raise any traffic or storm water drainage concerns they may have.

Clark said the council must balance the property owner Marty Harstad’s rights and the concerns of the neighborhood.

Mayor Tom Ryan said the council also represents businesses and property owners, not just the residents.

“We represent 62,000 people in the city, not just the residents there,” Ryan said. “So if we get ourselves into a major lawsuit, all 62,000 people in the city will pay that bill.”

Ryan said Walmart may decide not to make a development application after the environmental assessment worksheet review process is completed. The city is taking this one week at a time, he said.

This property is properly zoned for this type of development though, Ryan said.

“If it isn’t Walmart, it’s going to be someone else and it’s going to be big,” he said.

All environmental assessment worksheet documents or a 24-page summary can be found on the city’s website (www.ci.blaine.mn.us) or at Blaine City Hall in the planning department, 10801 Town Square Drive NE, Blaine, MN 55449.

Questions or written comments should be forwarded to Schafer at bschafer@ci.blaine.mn.us or 763-785-6144.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

  • Blaine Citizens for Smart Growth

    Mayor Ryan stated, “We represent 62,000 people in the city, not just the residents there,” Ryan said. “So if we get ourselves into a major lawsuit, all 62,000 people in the city will pay that bill.”

    Well Mayor Ryan, all 62,000 residents of the city WILL BE PAYING FOR WALMART regarless in order to move them 1200 feet across I35W and will be paying forever for road, sewer, and ditch improvements once the Walmart and other retail has been built for ongoing improvements since there are no plans by Walmart to pay for any stress on our infrasturcture. As well, the City Council and the Mayor continue to ignore the economic impacts that the residents will incur. They refuse to do an Economic Impact Study as well. The residents “over there” SPECIFICALLY will lose residential property values and equity in their homes that hey have invested in, many for over 30 years. Of course Mayor Ryan doesn’t care…..the Ball Road neighborhoods are dispensable, they are not high end like those over off of Radisson Road or 125th/Main St.

    Mayor Ryan, WE the residents elected you NOT Martin Harstad or Walmart. WE have been paying your wages as Mayor for over 20 years only to get kicked in the gut with statements like the one above.

  • Cathy Harrison

    I hope that people start looking at the EAW documentation that is on the City of Blaine’s website. Much of the data presented is for the original 150,000 sq. ft Super Center not the 180,000 sq. ft Super Center.

    Example: http://www.ci.blaine.mn.us/_docs/uploads/20130506-902639-902640.pdf
    The Prototypical Utility Loads document has the Load estimated for a 150,000 sq. ft. store. Check out the numbers for the 180,000 sq.fto store.

    These are they things that need to be called out and sent to Bryan Schafer

  • Mike & Linda Larkin

    Back in 2001, when Target was interested in The Village spot, the City Council was glad that Target was there and willing to give $100,000.00 over the asking price of the property, then came Wal-Mart at the eleventh hour to offer $500,000, Target did not want to get into a bidding war with the mighty Wal-Mart who have billions of dollars at their disposal.
    I am so sick of this argument! I’ve sick to death about the City Council not taking us seriously. May the world kick the City back to reality at some point in the future for putting us last on their list
    Mr. Harstad is a land speculator and his job is to make a profit with each deal he can muster. Congratulation to him for selling this parcel and selling out the people who live here.
    I see a City Council that was way-sided by the largest company in the America. A company that is under scrutiny both here and abroad. That the City Manager and City Council were swayed by Wal-Mart and with no means of being able to back-track now. I have no respect for anyone on the City Council and even less for the City Manager.
    There was no thought about the health, or well-being of the neighborhoods along Lexington Avenue, Ball Road and surrounding streets by Blaine’s City Manager and City Council. They have proven time and again that our concern mean nothing. We gave them power and look what we got in return. Wal-Mart’s got them right where they want the City Council.
    I feel for all who will be placed in this type of environment after Wal-Mart is build. Our own specific retirement dreams are dashed. We as citizens should not have to be subject to what we are about to be faced with.
    Nothing is fair in life. It just goes to show that we can’t trust anyone and not even the City Council.
    Respectfully,
    Mike & Linda Larkin

  • Jason Antes

    And what happens if the citizens in the Ball Road area decide to sue the City because Walmart violates the zoning permit requirements? All 62,000 citizens of Blaine will be on the hook for that as well. The permit specifies that whatever goes in will not have a detrimental impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Well I’d say increased crime, heavy traffic loads that bring Ball road and Lexington close to their maximums, increased noise pollution, and reduction in our property values would all fall under detrimental impact.

  • Scott Hermodson

    If Walmart goes in, the Lexington / Ball Rd. intersection WILL fail. There is not enough property there to accommodate the amount of traffic that is expected. Customers will look for alternative routes. There are 3 main alternatives. 107th ave by way of Marmon, 103rd via Lever st, and North road. 103rd and North Rd. bracket Centennial Elementary school on the North and South, and 107th has East Side Park which has 100′s of children playing baseball all summer long. There are NO sidewalks on any of these streets. Everyday, children as young as 1st grade walk to school on these streets. Heavy overflow of traffic will put all of the children at risk. How does the city not see that this is NOT a location for Walmart, or any other big box retailer?

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