The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

March 6, 2014

Concerns about land near Wal-Mart raises some safety concerns

CLINTON -- Property owner Dave Rose has two companies interested in his lots behind Wal-Mart. They’re “national companies” and have approached him with a “proposal to create 50 jobs,” he said.

On Wednesday, following a unanimous decision from the Clinton Plan Commission, Rose is doubtful of his prospects, even though he was technically green lighted. But he doesn’t resent the board’s position, either.

“This kind of cancels it out,” Rose said. “I respect the decision. And it just means I have to buy another piece, and this piece will not be developed. These companies want to be so close to Wal-Mart. They want to see Wal-Mart.”

Both Rose and city engineer Jason Craft approached the commission to talk about a “curb cut” -- altering the existing concrete curb to create an entrance. Lots 4 and 5, owned by Rose and located on the southeast corner of Manufacturing Drive and Valley West Courtyard, put businesses in view of Wal-Mart, Kohls and other big-name retailers. The plans call for construction of two buildings over two phases with entrances 350 feet from the intersection.

The companies (which Rose declined to name) had one major stipulation: the development must have two road access ways to the parking lot, one for each adjacent street. Given the speed and congestion of the nearby intersection, that was something Craft could not recommend.

Manufacturing Drive has a 45 miles-per-hour speed limit, and positioning an entrance so close to the intersection is against state guidelines, increasing the potential for accidents. The city, Craft added, doesn’t “arbitrarily” change speed limits, and he doubted lowering speeds to fit state recommendations would prevent drivers from traveling at today’s limits.

This alone wouldn’t do away with the curb-cut. Ideally, Rose said his entry-ways would be “right-turn, left-turn,” giving drivers the ability to turn either direction from the access point. Commission members shied away from that idea, in favor of a one-way or “right-in, right-out” entrance.

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