Wal-Mart officials seeking to expand their Apple Valley location will have to wait a little longer, as City Council members and residents continue to fret about the noise it would create near a residential area.
The City Council voted for a second time Thursday to table its decision on Wal-Mart's plans and will pick up the issue at its Oct. 23 meeting. The 4-1 vote came after two and a half hours of discussion, which delved into the minutiae of delivery time restrictions and noise concerns related to the proposed location of the store's loading dock.
Mark Ceminsky, who lives close to the Wal-Mart at 150th Street and Pennock Avenue, said the council decision was "very disappointing."
"All it's doing is giving Wal-Mart time to come back and get Wal-Mart's way," he said after the council meeting.
The retailer is looking to expand its Apple Valley location into a "Supercenter," which would add 58,580 square feet and a grocery department. The biggest point of contention is that the plan calls for moving the loading dock from the northeast side of the building to the northwest, an area closer to residents' homes. The grocery area would also be located on the west.
Although most residents have said that they are not opposed to an expansion, some fear that the bigger building and loading dock position would bring more trucks and more noise to the adjoining neighborhood.
Ceminsky, in an interview before Thursday's meeting, said his only concern was the loading dock.
"To me, it wouldn't matter if it was Wal-Mart, Target or one of those big box companies, because the issue is noise," he said. "I just want the noise issue straightened out."
Wal-Mart had earlier taken steps to address the noise concerns. The company hired an independent noise consultant to show the proposed plan would not increase noise levels. Wal-Mart is also planning on installing a sound wall and moving the entrance to the loading docks farther from residents.
A noise expert hired by the City Council agreed that Wal-Mart's efforts would help reduce noise, city officials said.
Council Member John Bergman, who lives in the neighborhood close to Wal-Mart, said before the meeting that he was not willing to approve the plan until he is able to see the noise mitigation efforts in place at another store and is able to gauge its effectiveness at reducing noise.
"I wanted a proven product," he said. "I was not going to set a precedent for putting loading docks in this community, in a residential neighborhood."
Wal-Mart officials on Thursday also agreed to the council's earlier request to limit the store's delivery times to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. However, they said they are only able to control their private fleet and could only suggest that their vendors comply with the restrictions, a point of contention with some council members on Thursday.
This is Wal-Mart's third attempt at renovating the Apple Valley store. In 2006, the company looked into adjusting some parts of the store but later withdrew its proposal. In 2007, the company asked for approval on a 76,786-square-foot addition that would add a grocery store to the east side of the building near the existing loading dock. The council eventually approved those plans.
This year, however, Wal-Mart decided not to go with the approved plan and presented a new one that would reduce the square footage by 16,604 and move the loading docks and grocery to the west side, which spurred the questions about noise.
Jeannine Aquino 952-882-9056