The ordinance to a proposed Walmart facility in Ellisville was ultimately postponed for further discussion at the next Ellisville City Council meeting.
With seats filled and many attendees standing during the Aug. 15 council meeting, 14 residents spoke in public comments regarding the development in some way, from traffic congestion and access to neighboring businesses to direct opposition of the pending Walmart, several specifically against TIF legislation.
Walmart representatives answered specific questions posed by council members, including lowering the height of the building to be less than 30 feet and whether the business would be able to function without a full-use liquor license.
Christine Bushyhead, an attorney representing Walmart, stated the liquor license would be necessary and the height could not be lowered. Architect on the project Ryan McKay added the height matter was a safety issue for attaching signage in accordance to "the Walmart brand" and Ellisville ordinances.
Regarding traffic issues, Traffic Engineer Shawn White of Crawford Bunte Brammeier elaborated on the intersection at Weir and Manchester that would be altered for the Walmart's presence. A median and traffic stoplight would be installed as part of the proposal, and compliance with the Great Streets initiative was addressed.
White said a median installation along Manchester would allow for a "safer roadway" with the potential to reduce accidents by 50 to 60 percent. Discussion then transferred to the logistics of light operation: would it be a 3-way or 4-way stop, would Weis Road become one way, etc.
The median would run from Old State Road to Clarkson, allowing for U-turns at Weis and Old State. White said the median would accommodate access management to affected businesses, summing up the number of driveways along the road to 64 per mile.
Ada Hood, director of planning and city development, said traffic counts and evaluations would be conducted by the city, with White's recommendation to do so in mid-September to account for traffic flow from nearby schools.
Rick Rohlfing, a project engineer for Walmart, said the intersection would be safer as a 4-way use and that they would accept a 3-way traffic light. He added the decision was ultimately MoDOT's, not Walmart's, to make.
Council Member Dawn Anglin proposed to "continue working with staff to perfect conditions" within the ordinance to "further accommodate residents." Anglin originally moved to amend the ordinance requesting the building be at or less than 30 feet high, but the amendment was voted down 3-4.
Conditions specifically in question:
- Traffic impact requirements
- Sound wall
The motion was approved; Ellisville Mayor Adam Paul objected to a second reading of the ordinance and it was tabled for the next meeting. When Council Member Michelle Murray asked for explanation of his objection, Council Member Matt Pirrello called for point of order, noting Paul's objection did not require explanation.