City planners advance Walmart on North Hill

The Minot Planning Commission’s support for a new Walmart on 21st Avenue Northwest disappointed neighbors who spoke out against the store at a meeting Tuesday.

The commission voted 7 to 4 to recommend the Minot City Council approve the project at its meeting next Monday.

Commissioner John Zimmerman argued that the retail development in north Minot will take pressure off the traffic in south Minot.

“It’s a tough call, but I think it’s good for the city,” he said.

Commissioner Travis Zablotney took an opposing view.

“It’s a big impact big impact to traffic, big impact to residents in that area,” Zablotney said. “We have to use some sense and discretion when we put things in commercial. There’s standard commercial and there’s Super Walmart commercial, trafficwise. I view it the same as many of the neighbors. There are better locations for this.”

Neighbors voiced concerns about traffic and potential for increased crime.

“It’s just too large a retail outlet too close to a residential area,” said neighbor Mark Brown. “Walmart doesn’t belong in people’s backyards.”

Wal-Mart isn’t cooperating with the city, said John Meyers of Bemidji, Minn., president of Pace Development, which is building the new MarketPlace Foods at 21st Avenue and 16th Street Northwest.

“I don’t think they have answered all the questions, nor do I think they are participating in solving your problems,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the kind of company you want participating in making North Hill grow.”

He mentioned Wal-Mart’s reluctance to get involved in advancing the city’s interest in a future interchange at 21st Avenue and the U.S. Highway 83 Bypass, just west of the store location.

Wal-Mart proposes to build on 26 acres of a larger piece of property that the city wants a piece of for an interchange.

In its approval, the planning commission dropped the requirement that the landowner donate property for the interchange and annex all his nearby property, not just the Walmart portion. Wal-Mart representatives said that the landowner matters were outside the company’s control.

The commission denied Wal-Mart’s desire to allow one-night recreational vehicle camping in the parking lot in support of the Good Sam RV association. As approved, no camping or parking of recreational vehicles would be allowed.

Wal-Mart agreed to improve Sunset Boulevard, install signals at the store entrance off 21st Avenue and build turn lanes on 21st Avenue at Sunset and the store entrance. There will be no public access off 19th Avenue behind the store. Wal-Mart and the city are discussing a joint project involving signal installation at 21st Avenue and the bypass.