Fehr Tells Of Wal-Mart Development Issues

Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr gave is assement of the Wal-Mart Development Agreement Issues to the City Commission by Memo:


The proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter is a complicated project involving not only the rezoning of the site, but also numerous other development issues which involve the City, because of the need for a Development Agreement between the City and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has provided City Administration with a proposed Development Agreement; however, it is difficult for City Administration to respond to the proposal, due to the numerous policy decisions that are involved in such an agreement. The development issues and the zoning issues are really separate; however, it is almost impossible to discuss one of those sets of issues, without at least having a working knowledge of the other. The purpose of this meeting is for the Commission to discuss the development issues, and Wal-Mart’s proposed Development Agreement, and give City Administration direction as to how to proceed in the negotiation process with Wal-Mart. In order to provide a background for discussion of the development issues, City Administration believes it is important to present an overview of the proposed rezoning request. However, the Commission should not undertake discussion about the zoning issues at this time. The proposed rezoning is generally described, as follows:

PUD Project Overview:

The proposed rezoning involves a 22.26 acre site, bounded generally by Tuttle Creek Boulevard on the west, McCall Road on the north, Hayes Drive on the east and the existing Wal-Mart Center on the south. The project consists of two proposed commercial lots: Lot 1, containing the Wal-Mart Supercenter; and Lot 2, containing the existing Mrs. Clyde’s Restaurant and Roche’s Hair Care. There is also a triangular landscaped common area, "Tract A", located between Staples to the south, and the extension of Bluemont Avenue (see site plan).

The Supercenter is proposed to contain 207,502 square feet of enclosed floor area, as well as a permanent roofed over garden center of approximately 6,641 square feet, for a total 214,143 square feet. The Supercenter includes: general merchandise, grocery, Tire and Lube Express (TLE), pharmacy, hair care, vision center, bank, portrait studio, snack bar, and other unidentified interior lease space uses, outdoor seasonal garden sales in the outdoor garden center and outdoor temporary sales in the parking lot, as well as temporary sidewalk sales.

The building is proposed to face southward towards the proposed extension of Bluemont Avenue, where the primary access into the customer parking lot is located. Secondary access to the parking lot would come from Hayes Drive. Truck delivery access to the loading docks is from McCall Road.

The Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board held a public hearing on the proposed rezoning on February 25, 2002, which was continued on March 18, 2002. Following its deliberations, the Planning Board recommended approval of the proposed PUD with the twelve (12) conditions listed in the Staff Report and with two additional conditions added by the Board. Condition number 6 involves a list of "must have" street improvements, which are described in the next section.

Traffic Improvements Overview:

Wal-Mart’s traffic consultant prepared a Traffic Study, dated February 7, 2002, which looks beyond the immediate proposed rezoning boundary and assesses surrounding intersections, existing Level of Service (LOS) conditions, Wal-Mart development conditions, and a list of "must have" improvements that are necessary in order to facilitate adequate traffic flows in conjunction with Wal-Mart opening its new store. The following list of "must have" improvements was developed by the Public Works Department, based on the Traffic Study and is the basis of Condition Number 6 in the rezoning Staff Report.

6. The following traffic improvements shall be provided to include:

a. Intersection of Tuttle Creek Boulevard and Bluemont Avenue: Modify signal and geometrics to provide 7-lane section with medians on all legs. All lanes receiving a double left turn movement shall be 15-feet in width.

b. Tuttle Creek Boulevard: At McCall Road, install 400-feet plus appropriate taper northbound right turn lane.

c. McCall Road: Install median from Tuttle Creek Boulevard eastward through frontage road access point.

d. Bluemont Extension: (From Tuttle Creek Boulevard to Hayes Drive) Install coordinated traffic signals at the Wal-Mart/Staples entrance and at Hayes Drive. In concept, this section will be consistent with the submittal received on February 6, 2002, including the relocated frontage road south. In addition to the raised median between Tuttle Creek Boulevard and the Wal-Mart entrance, a raised median between the Wal-Mart entrance and Hayes Drive shall be provided. Right-of-way requirements shall be a minimum of 15-feet beyond back of curb on both sides of the street. All lanes receiving a double left turn movement shall be 15-feet in width.

e. Hayes Drive: Restrict Staples truck entrance off of Hayes Drive to delivery traffic only. Construct a 5-lane section from Bluemont Avenue intersection to a point 200-feet +/- north of the Wal-Mart entrance. All lanes receiving a double left turn movement shall be 15-feet in width. South leg of McCall Road intersection shall be modified to a 4-lane section with a single southbound lane. Modify signal at McCall Road as necessary.

f. Existing Bluemont Avenue: Remove signal at 3rd Street. At Tuttle Creek Boulevard, provide a 7-lane section with median. Extend median west to 4th Street. All lanes receiving a double left turn movement will be 15-feet in width. Install signal at 4th Street. Bluemont Avenue at 4th Street will be a 5-lane section with opposing left turn lanes. Match existing pavement section on Bluemont Avenue at some point east of 5th Street. Right-of-way acquisition will be necessary in the 200 and 300 blocks of Bluemont Avenue.

g. 4th Street: Widen to provide left turn lanes at Bluemont Avenue.

h. Vattier Street: Consider traffic diverter or other appropriate traffic-calming device at 4th Street and Vattier Street.

i. Sarber Lane: Construct a 3-lane urban section from the west frontage road to just east of Hayes Drive.

Given the discussion at the April 2, 2002 City Commission meeting regarding alternatives for the Bluemont Avenue improvements west of Tuttle Creek Boulevard, it is likely the "must have" list of improvements presented here will have to change. For example, if another viable option for the treatment of traffic conditions at 3rd and Bluemont is eventually approved, the suggestions for that corridor will need to be modified accordingly.