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Cabela's plans raise congestion concerns

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news Woodbury, 55125

Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

The plan to build an 85,000 square-foot Cabela’s, a gas station, a coffee shop and another retailer got members of a Woodbury advisory group concerned about potential undesired density.

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Planning Commission members said the 15.9 acres located south of Interstate 94 and west of Radio Drive may be a bit too tight to accommodate traffic from a gas station and the large outdoor retailer.

Owner of the land, Jerry’s Enterprises, Inc., plans to sell a big chunk to Cabela’s, which upon final approval from City Council, will likely open in 2014 with a large parking lot that includes a designated dump station, a fenced-in outdoor display area and three access points from Hudson Road.

The additional retailers, which have yet to be determined, would resemble lots at Woodbury Village, each varying in size from 1.5 to 3 acres.

Woodbury Senior Planner Eric Searles said a traffic study determined appropriate flow; however, he expects that area to be busy with Cabela’s being so close to Tamarack Village and the interstate.

Planning Commission Member Ed Nemetz wondered if the types of vehicles that frequent Cabela’s – boats, trailers and campers – would cause additional traffic concerns.

But that’s why the developer requested additional parking than what’s required — 4.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet — which city staff said they were comfortable with.

However, Nemetz said there is already a lot of traffic on Hudson Road going in and out of Globe University and the other businesses along that stretch.

He suggested the city’s engineering department take a deeper look at the plans and make sure the roads work well to accommodate what he expects to be a busier Hudson Road, especially since not everyone will use Radio Drive to get into the center.

“People are smart enough to figure out the shortcut,” he said.

Commissioners were tasked with reviewing the plans on Monday, June 17, ahead of tonight’s 7:30 p.m. public hearing before the Woodbury City Council.

Though commissioners gave the go-ahead to build Cabela’s, a permit to construct the three other lots will be reviewed by them again when developers determine specific types of uses and refine parking and traffic details.

Searles said the three retailers may be reduced to two if staff feels that is the more appropriate way to go.

But as long as they meet parking and stacking requirements, all three could be approved for the permit, he added.

“These lots just seem too congested,” Planning Commission Member Irfan Ali said. “I’m just concerned there is a lot happening right off of 94.”

Ali abstained from the vote when commissioners approved the plans. However, they added conditions that include a request for appropriate traffic lane width to accommodate larger vehicles, as well as flexibility on the future of the smaller lots.

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