I am a resident of the city of Crystal Falls and would like to express my concerns regarding the proposed building location of a retail development in the city.
After reviewing the Retail Site Development preliminary plan that was dated June 1, 2012, I feel some issues need to be addressed.
I understand that the location is zoned B-2 or commercial and I have referred to the City of Crystal Falls, Zoning Ordinance Specifications for B-2 zoning. Here are some of my concerns:
1. The preliminary drawing of the retail development shows it would be located on U.S. 2 between 6th and 7th Streets, with the rear of the building facing Court Street with a 15-foot setback. This does not meet the rear setback requirements of a minimum of 20 feet. Therefore, this would require a variance.
2. The preliminary drawing of the site shows that all traffic would enter from U.S. 2. According to MDOT that particular corner intersection of US-2/141 and M-69 has an average daily use of 4,400 vehicles, which includes over a hundred logging trucks. The oncoming traffic from North Sixth Street is very busy with campers, boats, and other recreational vehicles attempting to enter that same section of highway, which further adds to the traffic congestion. Is it in the best interest of our taxpayers and citizens to increase traffic in an already very congested section of highway? As a safety issue has this been addressed and approved by any city, county or state agency with jurisdiction over the roadway?
3. In the preliminary drawing the retail building will be approximately 9,300 square feet. According to the zoning ordinance, Section 5, Sub-section 5.4 ... "Under use for a commercial building the number of parking spaces which shall be provided must be one parking space per 200 square feet." Therefore, the developer would have to provide at least 46 parking spaces, but is currently proposing only 30, a decrease of 33 percent. If the entrance were on either of the side streets there would be even less parking available. Is the developer aware of this requirement?
4. If the retail development were to be located where it is proposed a large green space of grass and trees will be removed and replaced with pavement and a building. There appears to be no room for grass or trees in the preliminary plan. The issue of water runoff would be a definite concern as well as the height of the retaining walls.
I do not want to stop retail development in our community, but I feel that zoning laws were developed to protect the citizens; and the use of variances should be kept to a minimum. There are other locations within the city of Crystal Falls more appropriate for this development that would provide the space needed for setbacks and parking. I understand that the retail store has their business plan, and that it is in their best interest to follow it. However, I do not think it is the best interest of the residents of Crystal Falls or other taxpayers who must use the U.S.2 corridor to get through the city.
Unless the final site plan has addressed the above issues, it would appear that more than one zoning variance would be required. Again, I am not against progress, but I would like to ensure that the proper procedure is followed to make sure that those same laws that were developed in the best interests of the citizens of Crystal Falls, and this entire area, continue to serve us all. We, as taxpayers, deserve to be informed as this development continues.