Chanhassen rejects Wal-Mart's plan for new store

  • Article by: TOM MEERSMAN
  • Star Tribune
  • November 29, 2011 - 8:36 PM

The Chanhassen City Council has rejected Wal-Mart's proposal to build a 120,000-square-foot retail store near the intersection of Hwy. 5 and Powers Boulevard, ending for now an often contentious debate about the impact the big-box retailer would have on the area.

The city's action Monday night came after citizens organized a petition drive against the store and the City Planning Commission voted against recommending it Nov. 1.

In a statement Tuesday, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Lisa Nelson said the company is disappointed that the council turned down its plan "to bring jobs, tax base and low prices to our customers in the area."

City Council members and city staff said that the proposal for the 14-acre site did not have enough parking spaces, and needed to meet higher than minimum standards for traffic flow, architectural design and environmental protection. The property at 1000 Park Road already contains a large building, built in 1986 and vacant for the past several years. It would have been demolished as part of the project.

Citizens opposed to the new store said that it would increase traffic, hurt "local homegrown businesses" in Chanhassen, and cause safety concerns requiring additional policing. They also said the retail outlet was not needed because Wal-Mart already has a store in Eden Prairie, about 7 miles away. Competitor Target has stores in both communities.

Those in favor of the proposal said it would add hundreds of jobs, boost tax revenue and make good use of an underutilized property.

Wal-Mart could try again by submitting a different proposal to the city's Planning Commission. That possibility is "still being decided," said Nelson.

"We are committed to our customers, and will continue to look for opportunities to serve them," she said.

Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388

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