The Sussex Plan Commission continued its exhaustive review of the Meijer proposal deep into Thursday night while it scrutinized a draft document outlining parameters of the development.
Village staff presented a draft of Meijer’s conditional use permit, which outlined everything from the flow of truck traffic on the new site to the height of fencing at the store. The document contained well over 20 requirements for the developer to adhere to.
Meijer is proposing to build a 191,000-square-foot, 24-hour, mixed grocery store and retail center on the site. The plans also include construction of a gas station. Sussex amended its land use plan to accommodate the development.
During the 4-hour meeting, Village President Greg Goetz said one of his biggest concerns was visions of a vacant 200,000-square-foot building in the village should Meijer leave 10 or more years down the road. He suggested staff explore mandating Meijer take responsibility for the building should they leave.
“In 10 or 15 years, many things can change, and we don’t want to see a vacant building there,” Goetz said.
Meijer representative Brian Randall attempted to assure the board that the property wouldn’t become an eyesore — or likely vacant — in the decades to come.
“Meijer takes great pride in going to a market they’ve studied. We believe this will be a strong, and successful investment in the community,” Randall said. “Meiijer will also own the site, and they don’t want to shed tax payments for a location that isn’t generating revenue. I can’t predict the future, but Meijer doesn’t have that kind of history.”
From the first minute of a nearly 8-hour, two-day public hearing on the Meijer proposal, storm water management was of utmost importance for residents and village leaders. Meijer’s permit specifically requires the Army Corps Of Engineers and the Department of Natural Resources to sign off on the wetland preservation plan on the site.
The issue of wetland designation applies to the gas station portion of the development. Surveyors will study the site in spring, and if the plans need to be significantly changed, Meijer would travel through the approval process all over for the gas station only.
“If they change the plan, the Plan Commission will have to decide if it is a substantial change, and requires approval again,” said Village Attorney John Macy.
Another priority for the commission was to regulate the flow of truck traffic in and out of the Meijer site. Commissioners requested signage be placed along Executive Drive prohibiting drivers from taking a shortcut through a residential area to merge onto the highway. The plan already includes a narrowed roadway to discourage truck traffic.
Here are some other parameters included in Meijer’s permit:
- The site must adhere to a tree plan, preserve wetlands on the site, and leave 35 percent of the site “open space.” Meijer must also protect and maintain environmentally distinctive areas on the site.
- Lighting in the parking lot will be reduced after 11 p.m. unless the store is holding a special sale or promotion.
- Hours of operation are “up to” 24 hours a day. No alcohol will be sold at the gas station, and the gas station’s 24/7 status is subject to review if deemed necessary by the Plan Commission.
- Developer must construct a retaining wall subject to the village engineer’s approval
- An approved storm water maintenance agreement must be in place, which designates where storm water will flow.
- Outdoor storage must be fenced in, shielded, and not stacked higher than 10 feet.
Village staff will revise Meiijer's use permit, and the new version will go for a vote before the Plan Commission in February.