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City wants Wal-Mart to fix drainage problem

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
May 9, 2008
— The city is retaining a $54,000 bond posted by Wal-Mart until the retailer corrects a drainage problem southeast of its Supercenter store.

The bond is money posted by Wal-Mart to guarantee that the retailer does the work according to plans, Price said. The city will use the money to do the work itself if Wal-Mart doesn’t.


The area is holding water longer than the intended 72 hours, said Gale Price, building and development services manager.


“Although it is working as they designed it, it’s not working as it was intended,” Price said. “We don’t want any of the area to have standing water.”


At least one neighbor has called the city to complain, and Price said the concern is understandable.


“It was supposed to be just a damp area, not necessarily a water-holding area, “ he said.


Price is meeting with Wal-Mart store representatives today on other complaints forwarded by the neighbor, including trash in the drainage area. The store is responsible for keeping that area clean.


Store management has changed, and Price said he wants to make sure the requirements outlined in the conditional-use permit are understood by the new management team.


Price will ask store management to remove empty trailers left in the back of the store and not in the dock, for example.


In many other places, Wal-Mart stores leave empty trailers sit until they are changed out with the next trailer.


The neighbor also talked about the loss of the tree line in back of Amhurst Road. Those trees and shrubs were removed to create the drainage area.


Price said he will ask Wal-Mart representatives to replace three evergreen trees that have died, but he doubts they will do more. The retailer significantly changed plans in early 2006 and added more trees when the residents along Amhurst Road were shocked how the loss of the trees opened their view to the commercial property behind their homes.


But it’s not possible at this time to require Wal-Mart to plant more, Price said.


The trees were removed when the property was graded and the outlet pipes laid.


In addition, a 50-foot-wide easement owned by ANR Pipeline complicated the design of the drainage area and the installation of the storm water pipes. The easement also must remain tree free.


The easement has existed since 1979, and Price figures that about one-third of the former tree line would have been removed in the future to accommodate the pipeline.


The city had offered residents a chance to buy trees at city costs and plant them on their properties, Price said.



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