Environmental Policy Board (EPB)


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Meeting Date: 08/16/2021  
By: Chris Anderson, Community Development

Consider Natural Resources Aspects of Site Plan and Plat for G-Will Liquors
The City has received applications for Site Plan review and Final Plat from Rademacher Companies, Inc. (the "Applicant") for a proposed new G-Will Liquors retail store, located at 15415 Saint Francis Boulevard (the "Subject Property").
General Project Overview
The Subject Property is approximately 21 acres in size and the subdivision would create two (2) parcels, one about 3 acres in size (site of the proposed retail store) and the other about 18 acres.  The Subject Property has a split zoning of B-1 General Business and R-2 Residential (Medium Density).  The proposed subdivision mirrors the boundaries of the split zoning.  The proposed building, which will be on the 3 acre parcel, would be approximately 12,000 square feet in size, with access gained from Alpine Drive.  There are no formal plans for the northern portion of the Subject Property at this time.

Natural Resources Inventory
The City's Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) identifies the souther portion of the Subject Property as an Altered/Non-Native plant community.  The Minnesota Land Cover Classification System (MLCCS) identifies the southern portion of the Subject Property as Dry Grassland.  Much of this area has been used as pasture for horses over the years.

The NRI classifies portions of the northern part of the Subject Property (again, no current plans for redevelopment at this time) as Altered/Non-Native (includes both wetland area and upland), but also includes a Moderate Quality Oak Woodland-Brushland plant community. 

Wetlands and Floodplain
The southern portion of the Subject Property does not appear to contain any wetlands.  There are two wetlands on the northern portion that are reflected on the Plat.  Both of these wetlands will need to be encumbered with drainage and utility easements out at least sixteen and a half feet (16.5') from the delineated boundary to serve as a wetland setback.  There does not appear to be any floodplain areas within the Subject Property.

Tree Inventory and Preservation Plan
The submittal did include an inventory of existing significant trees on the southern portion of the Subject Property.  Since there is no proposal for the northern portion presently, there is no need for that data at this time (will be required if/when a redevelopment proposal comes forward).  More details are required, including a table that specifies species, DBH, remove/save status, and, if a tree is being removed, a brief description of why (e.g. mass grading, stormwater pond, etc.).  As proposed, all existing significant trees are to be removed, which will require reforestation.  However, without the additional details, it is unknown whether the proposed landscaping satisfies the reforestation requirement or not.

Landscape Plan
The proposed species and sizes are all acceptable.  The plan provides for a mix of shade trees, ornamental trees, and evergreen trees.  Parking lot plantings are included as are plantings along the public right-of-way boundary.  More details regarding tree preservation (summarized above) are needed to determine whether additional plantings are required for reforestation. 

The Applicant, who also owns the Bill's Superette on the south side of Alpine Drive, has asked if some of the required plantings to be installed on that site.  The Applicant is concerned that the new plantings will impact visibility of the new store.  They are not seeking a reduction in the required number of plantings, just approval to install some on the parcel directly to the south (and across Alpine Drive).  Having control of the parcel south of Alpine Drive, which does have relatively few existing trees, creates a unique circumstance. 

If supported by the EPB, the plans would need to be updated to reflect plantings on both sites.  Furthermore, the plantings on the 'other' site would still be subject to the two (2) year maintenance surety.  Staff is seeking EPB feedback on the request to install some of the required plantings on this other site. 

As previously noted, the Subject Property has a split zoning, with the northern portion zoned R-2 Residential (Medium Density) and the southern portion zoned B-1 General Business.  The zoning of surrounding parcels also include R-2 Residential and B-1 General Business.  Bufferyards are required when a commercial development is proposed adjacent to a residentially zoned district.  However, in this case, there is a commercial vehicle repair business operating on the northern portion of the Subject Property and, while the property to the east is also zoned B-1 General Business, the current use is a residential home.

Staff has recommended that the bufferyard requirement be applied only along the eastern boundary.  The bufferyard should include a 40 foot wide corridor with an additional 30% of the required base landscaping.  This equates to an additional nine (9) trees and thirteen (13) shrubs in along the eastern boundary.  The Landscape Plan does include bufferyard plantings; however, some of the plantings should be rearranged to ensure that the correct numbers are along the eastern boundary.  Furthermore, Staff has asked about the potential to preserve some of the existing trees along this boundary, which would not only be applicable to the bufferyard plantings, but could also reduce the base landscape requirements as well.
Funding Source:
All costs associated with this request are the Applicant's responsibility.
Motion to recommend approval of the Landscape Plan and Tree Inventory and Preservation Plan contingent upon compliance with staff review comments in ProjectDox.

Site Location Map
Tree Inventory with Comments
Landscape Plan with Comments

Form Review
Inbox Reviewed By Date
Bruce Westby Bruce Westby 08/12/2021 03:05 PM
Form Started By: Chris Anderson Started On: 08/06/2021 11:47 AM
Final Approval Date: 08/12/2021


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