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Wetland replacement plan for Waterview Business Park to be revised, resubmitted

WILLMAR -- A wetland replacement plan that's a required component for a 115-acre commercial development site in Willmar will be fine-tuned and then resubmitted to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners for approval in the near future.

Based on a recommendation by a technical evaluation panel that includes state and county environmental personnel, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday denied approval of the wetland replacement plan for the Waterview Business Park.

The plan was submitted by Duininck Bros. Inc., which intends to develop land in the southeast part of Willmar where a proposed Super Wal-Mart would be located.

Jeff Bredberg, Kandiyohi County Environmental Services director, told the commissioners that he and representatives from the Soil and Water Conservation District, Board of Water and Soil Resources and Department of Natural Resources determined that the original plan did not provide adequate flood storage for Willmar or downstream areas.

The development will impact nearly 30 acres of existing wetland. The proposal includes an 11-acre retention pond and nearly 60 acres of wetland mitigation to replace the impacted wetland. Bredberg said it was determined the retention pond wasn't big enough.

Bredberg said Duininck Bros. Inc. and Willmar officials were working with Barr Engineering to revise the plan to meet the flood storage and wetland mitigation requirements.

He said, however, the 60-day timeline for taking action on the proposal was nearly up.

The panel recommended the original proposal be denied and that a revised plan be resubmitted. The commissioners were reluctant to deny the proposal and send a false message that they didn't approve of the project.

"Something will be approved in this area," said Commissioner Harlan Madsen. He said the board should be "very cautious" so that a vote taken now to deny the wetland replacement plan would not impede the project.

The commissioners were assured that the Duininck company was aware of the recommendation to deny the proposal.

When contacted after the meeting, however, Harris Duininck said he had anticipated that a 10-day extension of the timeline would be granted to allow more time to work out the details.

"I'm totally surprised it went this way," he said.

Duininck said the company has been working with engineers and the various agencies to rework the plan to increase the storm-water storage capacity on the development site.

Jason Ver Steeg, director of engineering for Duininck Bros. Inc., said they are "very close to resubmitting an updated proposal."

Duininck said he would have been at the meeting to request an extension if he had known it was going to be on the agenda.

The commissioners said they were not pleased that they hadn't received advance information on the proposal and the panel's recommendation to deny it. Commissioner Richard Falk told Bredberg that when the application is resubmitted, the commissioners should be notified earlier.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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