With the hustle and bustle of Walgreens, Waconia Farm Supply and Youngstedts, business is alive and well on the south side of the intersection of highways 5 and 284. The glaring exception is the corner property that used to be the home of a Marathon gas station. In the coming months, however, citizens can expect the corner lot to transform from an eyesore into a new retail space that will include a Caribou Coffee store.
During the Waconia City Council meeting on April 15, the council approved a site plan for a retail building that will be located on the property that sits on the southeast corner of highways 5 and 284. The size of the property is almost 31,000 square feet, which translates to about 3/4th of an acre.
The site plan includes the construction of a 3,400 square foot retail / office building that will house two to three tenants, one of which has already been identified as Caribou Coffee. The building will feature an earth tone brick exterior, awnings on the doors and windows, and decorative lighting. The facility will include a drive through, which will be used by the Caribou Coffee store. Although the site plan is pretty tight, there is room for a bypass lane by the drive through to allow cars to exit the drive through or circle the building if necessary.
Customers will be able to access the property via two spots, one being off of 8th Street, which is directly south of the property and north of Waconia Farm Supply. The other spot will be Highway 5 itself, where vehicles can enter and exit via access points currently situated by Youngstedts.
In terms of time frame on the project, Planning Director John Hilgers said the applicant is hoping to open the facility right before Thanksgiving. In the meantime, once various permits are secured, demo on the property can begin. First, the gas station canopy must be removed and existing fuel storage tanks must be excavated.
Hilgers noted that the applicant will take advantage of a $15,000 grant that was given to the city by the Metropolitan Council last year to help with some of the costs associated with testing the soil once the tanks are removed. When those tests are satisfactory, the rest of the site can be demolished followed by construction.
The corner property has been vacant for approximately four years.
Also during the meeting, Public Services Director Craig Eldred and Jake Saulsbury of Bolton & Menk led a public informational meeting about the city’s Well Head Protection Plan (WHPP).
The city’s WHPP was created in 2004 and as mandated by the state, the city must update its WHPP annually or every 10 years to keep up with legislative requirements or to reflect any production well changes in the community. In Waconia’s case, the city has until 2014 to complete the process of updating its WHPP.
In brief, the update focused on recent analysis of the city’s municipal water supply wells. The city has four main municipal water supply wells. Wells 7 and 8 pump from a buried sand layer and Wells 5 and 6 pump from the Mt. Simon Sandstone Aquifer. Wells 3 and 4 are emergency back up wells.
According to information presented by Saulsbury, groundwater flow is primarily to the southeast to the Minnesota River (except near high capacity wells, where it flows to the well); secondary discharges include smaller streams, some lakes and wetlands, and evapotranspiration from plants; and wells act as local discharge points.
Saulsbury noted that the analysis indicated low to no vulnerability for the city’s wells or aquifers, in part due to heavy clay soils and heavy bedrock underneath the clay soils near the wells and aquifers.
As the city completes its update, remaining items include identifying and locating potential threats to water supply; managing protected areas (monitoring, regulatory controls, public education, best management practices, etc.); and planning for the future (emergency procedures, alternative water supply, conservation programs, etc.).
In other matters:
• Joseph Wickenhauser and Eric Hedin were appointed as firefighters with the Waconia Fire Department.
• Resident Jim Stenger sought an explanation regarding the charges and fees associated with the city’s water shut-off policy. Stenger’s water service was shut off in February but was restored in April.
At the end of the process, Stenger was facing penalties and fees totalling $390, charges that Stenger felt were unreasonable. He asked the council to review his bill, taking into account the circumstances that led to his situation, as well as the city’s water shut-off process itself.
The issue was tabled and the council agreed to review the policy and will revisit the discussion at its next meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. on May 6.
Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]