Kenton Griffen, engineer with Wolverton and Associates in Atlanta, told commissioners while viewing the site plan that the approximate 150,000 square foot building will offer traditional features unique to Wal-Mart Super Centers, such as a one-hour photo center and hair salon.
The store would also be open 24-hours, he said.
Of the 36 acre lot, Wal-Mart will occupy 23. The rest of the space will be occupied by four outlots, a gas station and what he called a “future retail tract.”
The meeting also marked the first reading of the annexation/rezoning ordinance. After the second reading at the commissions’ March meeting, the annexation will be ready for consideration, said Assistant City Attorney Rob Monroe.
“We are not going to be in a position to adopt until March,” Monroe told Griffen.
Possibly standing in the way of the new Wal-Mart, however, is the public hearing scheduled to be held in the coming weeks.
According to City Manager James Stephens, the meeting will take place on March 14 at 7 p.m.
Stephens said that no one came to the first public hearing that was held on Feb. 7, though, he is expecting a crowd at the March hearing.
According to Griffen, residents are often concerned with the traffic implications that a Wal-Mart Super Center brings, which he also discussed at the February commission meeting.
“In our experience, one of the greatest concerns that most of the occupants and residents of the city has is the impact that such a development would have on the existing infrastructure,” he said.
The representative said that Wal-Mart has submitted and is currently awaiting approval of a traffic study from the Department of Transportation (DOT), though, they are confident that the study will be approved.
Assuming that each outlot would be occupied by what he called “high use” facilities like restaurants and specialty retailers, Griffen said that extra turning lanes will be needed on both sides of Highway 27 and Davis Road to accommodate the higher traffic flow.
Landscaping of the area was discussed as well and Griffen stated that a fence and additional trees would be put in place to screen the parking lot and two retention ponds from nearby residents.
Griffen explained that Wal-Mart decided to move across Highway 27 because the property that the current store sits on is leased.
“After extensive negotiations it is not possible to expand the existing store,” he explained to commissioners. “There is a need to be served so we decided to go across the street.”
Construction could begin as early as April if the annexation is approved, Stephens said, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. officials have slated August 2006 as an expected completion date.