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“At this time, I would have to say no. I honestly believe the impact on the adjacent neighborhood is just going to be too overwhelming,” Hovland said. “I think we are setting ourselves up for a lot of problems over there.”
The mayor says he hears the homeowners’ complaints, but he can’t ignore the rights of the site owner, either.
“Everyone there knew it was a piece of property that would be sold at one time,” Ryan said. “We have an obligation as elected persons to follow zoning, or they will sue.”
Traffic could be the biggest hurdle for Wal-Mart. Ball Road is close to the 35W and Lexington Avenue interchange. In December, Anoka County’s Highway Department, which maintains Lexington Avenue, sent a letter to the city outlining a dozen traffic issues that would be caused by the construction of a big-box store on Ball Road.
City Council Member Dave Clark said traffic at the Lexington/35W intersection is a critical issue. The intersection is a “gateway” to the northern part of the city, and he doesn’t want to see it become a pinch point. Clark said he has not taken a position on the proposed Wal-Mart, but he’ll be examining the traffic study closely.
“It’s a significant issue,” Clark said. “It’s going to have impacts beyond its borders. There are a lot of balls in play.”
Shannon Prather • 673-4804