City Council Approves Development Plans for Wal-Mart Supercenter

Sturgeon Bay city aldermen voted unanimously in favor of the final Planned Unit Development (PUD) submitted by Wal-Mart for a Supercenter store on Egg Harbor Road. The aldermen raised few protests or questions at the Jan. 5 meeting after reviewing a list of 18 conditions, restrictions and requirements outlined by the city Plan Commission.

Alderman Steve Mann (District 5) questioned the commission’s recommendation that Wal-Mart contribute financially for a future water and distribution system in the area. He is a member of the city Utility Commission.

Wal-Mart aims to build a Supercenter where its present store stands.

“We’ve got enough water towers in town,” Mann said. “And it cost us how much last year just to maintain the water towers we have?”

Sturgeon Bay Utilities Operations Manager Cliff White explained the water pressure system surrounding Wal-Mart. He said the system is served by two booster pumps. A water tower would likely only be installed in the event of significant growth in that area, which, White said, doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon. Instead of another water tower, additional booster pumps could be used to increase pressure for firefighting purposes (the main reason additional pressure is needed in the area).

The Plan Commission directed Wal-Mart to change its roadside sign to include space for an EconoFoods sign. Wal-Mart made changes, from an arched sign surrounded by Door County stone, to a big blue box outlined in black metal – which Alderman Thad Birmingham (District 7) said did not fit with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

“That sign is terrible in my opinion,” Birmingham said. “In the resident survey [for the Comprehensive Plan] this is exactly the type of sign people didn’t want.”

Birmingham also questioned the decision of the Plan Commission to waive requirements for Wal-Mart to pay for sidewalk installation along 14th Avenue. The Plan Commission recommended a sidewalk from the corner of 14th Avenue and Egg Harbor Road to Ole’s Mini Storage and into the parking lot.

“This area will probably see additional development in the future,” Birmingham said. “So let’s connect the dots and continue the sidewalk around that area.”

The following conditions, in brief, must be met by Wal-Mart in plans submitted to the city before construction of the Supercenter:

• Pay for all street and traffic improvements needed and acquisition of right-of-way property;

• Formally request annexation of property not in city limits from the Sevastopol School District into the Sturgeon Bay School District;

• Landscape maintenance plan detailing maintenance and replacement of plants for five years after installation;

• Lighting plan with fixtures similar to those at Econo Foods with a maximum height of 42 feet;

• Street trees along Egg Harbor Road and 14th Avenue;

• Stormwater collection system adjustments, including more storm inlets, relocation of storm inlets and necessary grading changes;

A development agreement with the city is one of the next steps Wal-Mart must take before construction begins. The Plan Commission outlined five areas Wal-Mart must address, with some changes from the Council:

• Extension of sanitary sewer and water mains and other utilities to the site, including procurement and establishment of utility easements;

• Financial contribution for a future water tower or other supply facility;

• Traffic improvements and payment for them as indicated by the 2009 traffic impact analysis;

• Completion and payment of stormwater conveyance improvements to route stormwater to the facility at John Miles County Park;

• Financial contribution for biking and pedestrian improvements leading to the Supercenter site,

A Planned Unit Development ordinance must be adopted by the City Council to cement the zoning and conditions Wal-Mart must follow during construction. After ordinance adoption, the Council and Wal-Mart will hash out the fine details of the development agreement, such as specific dollar amounts for the financial contributions and the detailed plans for stormwater conveyance and pedestrian amenities. City Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak said Wal-Mart does not plan to begin construction until 2011 and will use 2010 to secure construction bids and finalize plans with the city.