Meijer’s plans to build a new store in Round Lake Beach were presented and well received
On Thursday, March 13, 2014, the firm of GreenburgFarrow made a presentation for a proposed Meijer store to the Round Lake Beach Planning and Zoning Commission. There was a handful of residents in the audience who were allowed to ask questions after the presentation and the Commissions questions. Only two elected to speak, one with concerns about inbound and outbound trucks making deliveries and another about pedestrian and bicycle access. Since the meeting and Q&A session lasted over an hour and a half (which is all included in the video below), I will only mention a few of the items that come to mind.
* Demolition will consist of the vacant Walmart, Dominick’s, and ALL buildings between them. The short strip of businesses that face Rollins closest to Mallard Creek Drive will remain as a short shopping strip. McDonald’s, Arby’s, and Grease Monkey will also remain. All the old asphalt will be removed. The main store will be located towards the back of the area with a 24 hour fueling station constructed in the middle of the area along with a convenience center that will close around 10:00 PM. The main store will be open 24 hours a day.
* Truck deliveries will arrive through the main entrance off Rollins Road, circle the perimeter of the building to the loading docks which will face Mallard Creek Drive, and then exit out Mallard Creek Drive. Due to the wide right turns required, they would have difficulty entering from Mallard Creek Drive since it is only a two lane street.
* The medium size retention pond that is currently located on the east side of Mallard Creek Drive just south of Hook will be relocated between the proposed structure and Hook Drive. It will include shrubbery and wooden fencing to make it appealing to anyone driving by the rear of the new store.
* There will be a sign erected that will be visible to traffic along Route 83, especially those in the southbound lanes waiting for a green light. Since the building will be set back almost two football fields from Rollins Road, one of the variances being requested is for the signage size on the building so that it can easily be seen by Rollins Road traffic.
* There are several locations on the property that will be retained by the owner for future expansion including a triangular shaped one along the railroad tracks.
* Another variance being requested is for the use of 1000 watt lights in the parking lot versus the current zoning restrictions. This will eliminate the need for so many light posts that take up valuable parking space. The parking spaces themselves as well as the isles between them will be wider than zoning requires which we can all appreciate when loading our cars or getting in and out of parking spaces. The number of spaces will be less than zoning requirements which is another variance being requested. The spokesperson mentioned that their studies of other locations with similar size buildings and parking spaces found that 750 spaces was sufficient even in the evening and weekend hours. The month of December is always much more crowded but he mentioned that you can’t allocate excess funds just for one month out of the year.
* Vehicles leaving the lot onto Rollins Road will have two choices. The exit at the new stoplight west of McDonald’s will have three lanes, a dedicated left, a dedicated right, and a straight-thru lane for those heading south on Hainesville Road. The alternate exit to the west by the remaining shopping strip will only have a dedicated left or dedicated right turn. There will be no eastbound traffic allowed to enter at this location off of Rollins Road. There will also be a new entrance off of Mallard Creek Drive into the main parking area since the entrance further north will only be for trucks exiting the loading docks. There will be shrubbery along the bulk of the perimeter of the entire area along with some large fencing to hide the docks from view.
The following video is a little over an hour and a half and includes the questions and answer portion of the meeting as well. Overall, the commission was very receptive and none of the items the planners are asking for appear to be a deal breaker. During the first portion of the video you will hear some of the history and philosophy of Meijer, including their charitable contributions. You may see some color changes in the video as I had to adjust the white balance at various times between when the people were talking and when I switched to show what was on the projector screen. I wasn’t able to get the bottom of the screen due to the Commission Chairman’s election to stay put rather than slide down a few seats during the presentation like Mayor Hill generally does.