Plans approved

ALPENA – Alpena Township Planning Commission fully approved the site plans submitted by Meijer, with a few alterations at its meeting on Monday night. The site plan includes a 192,000 square foot store on 20.3 acres, a more than 700 space parking lotl and a convenience store with gas pumps near the proposed entrance off of M-32. There will be a secondary entrance off of Bagley Street through the Walgreens entrance.

Representing Meijer at the meeting was Jason Vander Kodde, senior civil engineer for Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber. Vander Kodde answered questions from the commission members of the public about drainage distribution, location and concerns on traffic flow based on the location entrances.

“Meijer, in our traffic study, requested a signal at this location from the (Department of Transportation) that we would build and we would pay for,” Vander Kodde said. “Across the state of Michigan, wherever Meijer does this, the DOT does not automatically grant a signal, and so if we were to try to get a signal there, it would take more than just Meijer asking the DOT. It’s our expectation and our hope that they will have a want here for a signal, and that we will get one as quickly as possible.”

There are two detention basins designed for the site to help with drainage, one behind the convenience store, and a second one behind the main store. Each detention area would run from the basin to the county drains, effectively ridding run off and mostly eliminating standing water issues in the area.

“That will give what we call a positive discharge for our basin,” Vander Kodde said. “There shouldn’t be standing water in any of these basins. Forty-eight to 72 hours after rain those should drain dry or relatively dry, removing groundwater or irrigation water. The water should be moving through and not sitting stagnant.”

There were only a few issues with specifics in the site plan reviews such as sign locations, location of a canopy over the gas pumps and a recommended parking reduction request of 30 percent. The planning commission agreed to most of the special requests and Meijer agreed to change a few small location issues with zoning and signage location.

Vander Kodde said the township and officers were a pleasure to work with and were very communicative with Meijer on requirements and zoning questions.

“On behalf of Meijer, I wish to thank the supervisor, zoning administrator and planning commissioner for their diligent efforts on our behalf, and we look forward to coming to Alpena,” he said. “The township did a very nice job of working with us as an applicant, they helped guide us through the process and gave us some good feedback, and we were able to prepare and present the plan that obviously met the ordinance that the planning commission was happy with.”

“Meijer is excited to be coming to Alpena and looks forward to serving the community,” Vander Kodde said. “We anticipate breaking ground spring of 2014, so thank you very much.”

Township Supervisor Marie Twite was pleased with the approval of the site plan and said she is excited for the groundbreaking in the spring.

“Now we will just be anticipating when Meijers breaks ground next spring. This was a wonderful project for us to be working on with our entire board. There was a lot of work involved. Our planning officials, (Les Klimaszwewski) and myself put in a lot of work going over the plans making sure they met all of our zoning requirements, and the board did a good job in making sure that they met all those requirements, and now it’s a go for Meijers.”

Planning commission Chair David DeKett also was pleased with the cooperation and careful planning with Meijer and predicts the rest of the process will go smoothly.

“Once they obtain all the permits through the DEQ and MDOT plus the building permit through the township, they normally will take about a year to build it,” DeKett said. “This is just one part of their permit process … so far it seems like they have everything in line.”

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.