Depot defends site plan ED
FINNERTY KALAMAZOO GAZETTE 04/11/2002
A consultant for developers of a Home Depot proposed for
Stadium Drive in Kalamazoo said the home-improvement giant
is committed to the site if it gets state approval to
About 15 people who
spoke at a public hearing Wednesday urged the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality, however, to prevent
the store from being built.
"Filling in a wetland,
I think, can be no less devastating than napalming it,"
said Mary Hosley of 1839 Sheffield.
Home Depot has proposed
building a 95,000-square-foot store at 3300 Stadium, on
the former site of Wayside Lanes. A spokesman at Home
Depot's Atlanta headquarters said in March that it is
also considering the former Montgomery Ward site at Maple
Hill Mall in Oshtemo Township, as well as other locations.
Home Depot officials
recently told the Stadium developers they are concerned
about the "economics" of the vacant Montgomery Ward property,
including costs to demolish the existing building, Tim
Bureau, vice president of Resource Management Group Inc.,
Bureau, whose firm is
consulting for Hinco L.L.C., which owns the Stadium site,
said Home Depot has a written agreement to build on Stadium
if the project gets state approval. "If we obtain the
(wetlands) permit, they are committed to come to this
site," Bureau said.
A proposal filed with
the DEQ in January asks permission to fill in 3.67 acres
of wetlands on the Stadium site. Developers would compensate
by creating 5.5 acres of new wetlands on and near an adjacent
city well field and possibly several miles away at the
Hidden Lake residential development near Sprinkle and
The low-lying, 13-acre
property on Stadium backs up to Arcadia Creek and is immediately
west of the well field. Kalamazoo city officials endorsed
the proposal, saying it would increase ground-water infiltration
contiguous to the well field and maintain water quality
Bureau said the plan
would create slightly more wetlands in the immediate area
than would be lost, and that filters and other safeguards
to be installed would make water running into the Arcadia
Creek flood plain and onto the well field cleaner. The
site now gathers untreated storm-water runoff from Stadium
as far west as Drake Road, through a Michigan Department
of Transportation drain.
"This is good, urban
redevelopment," Bureau said of the site, vacant since
the bowling alley was razed several years ago.
Several people who spoke
Wednesday urged the DEQ to closely follow its criteria
for considering wetlands applications, including a provision
that requires there be "no feasible and prudent alternatives"
to building on a wetland, and that the "activity is primarily
dependent upon being located in the wetland."
a Home Depot is not dependent on being in a wetland,"
said Dale Harrison of the Kalamazoo River Protection Association.
"Certainly there are other locations."
Other speakers stressed
that there are already five major home-improvement stores
in the Kalamazoo-area market, including a Home Depot in
Portage and Menards and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse
stores within a few miles of the Stadium site.
"The competition to
build more and more retail stores and drive out existing
ones, leaving empty stores and parking lots, does not
serve the public interest," said Patricia Klein of Crest
The DEQ will accept
written public comments on the Home Depot wetlands mitigation
plan for 15 more days, then has 90 days to either grant,
reject or modify the permit, the DEQ's Larry Poynter said.
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