Walmart store size Ok’d; trees required in parking lot
approved Walmart’s new updated plans for its proposed store and decided to uphold its earlier decision requiring trees in the parking lot during a public hearing Wednesday evening at city hall.
Curt Ward, a Marshalltown attorney who does land use work for Walmart, explained the 11.9 acres at 2701 W. Burlington Ave., across the street from the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, is correctly zoned, complies with city codes — other than size — and a traffic study shows no need for an additional traffic light.
But because Walmart’s plans for the store have changed since first presented and approved in 2007, project engineer Rick Rohlfing said they “just wanted everything on the table playing with the cards face up … so no one thinks we didn’t build what was approved.”
The difference is the newly proposed store will be 2,000 feet smaller — 93,712 square feet instead of 95,000 square feet — much more energy efficient and include many green features.
Ward pointed out if Walmart had built the store as proposed in 2007, it would not have included all the green features in the new plan.
“We felt it was better to hold off and wait,” said Rohlfing.
Some of the green features will include “harvesting” daylight, ceiling lights that dim or shut off depending on the amount of available sunlight, motion-activated lights in freezer compartments, low-mercury lamps that use less electricity and heating water for the building with heat captured from the compressors. The building also will have monitors sending signals to the home office in Bentonville, Ark., where any problems with heating and cooling units can be detected.
“Walmart is a leader in green,” said Ward.
“Walmart is always looking to make improvements in and outside the stores,” continued Rohlfing, pointing out the corporation shares its knowledge with other retailers, like Target.
Nearby property owners questioned Walmart’s plans for storm water drainage.
Rohlfing said the plans are for the water to run into a pond, where it will be held back and released slowly.
“We’re reducing our flow by one-third,” he said, pointing out the flow is less than what is required by city code.
“If it’s full, it spills into an overflow,” he said. “It is unmanaged, works unmanned day and night, with no pumps. The only maintenance is to clean out trash that accumulates in the pond.”
The pond could fill as deep as 6.5 feet, but it will not be standing water as it would drain in 36 to 42 hours, Rohlfing continued. For safety, a fence will be around the pond.
Patrick Kessel, owner of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau building, and his daughter Makenzie said their property northwest of the Walmart land has become basically a wetland after utility work was done there two years ago and water — that had possibly been trapped in the old landfill — began bubbling up through the ground. They are concerned if water is released slowly from Walmart’s retention pond, their property will be wet longer and never dry up.
For the complete article, see the Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010, printed edition of The Fairfield Ledger.