The drawing above is a site plan for the new proposed Wal-Mart Superstore, planned for the intersection of Flemingsburg Road and Bratton Branch Road. The bottom of the plan shows the access from Flemingsburg Road and access to Bratton Branch. Midway up the map at right is a second access road onto Viking Drive. The parking lot would be in front with the building in back. The Morehead- Lakeview Heights Planning Commission unanimously approved a final plan for the superstore. Once all agencies involved give approval, preparation for construction could begin this summer.

The local planning commission unanimously approved final plans for a Wal-Mart Superstore next to the Bratton Branch entrance Monday.

The action came following a 30-minute closed session in which legal matters were discussed with the planning commission and its attorney.

Those legal matters pertained to the jurisdiction of the planning commission, which can only make recommendations for development areas inside the city and cannot make decisions regarding runoff into state streams or traffic congestion on state highways.

Furthermore, the planning commission is limited by current city laws that govern planning, zoning and development. Those laws have not been updated for about 25 years, according to members.

In a previous meeting, planning commission members requested that Wal-Mart engineers re-design entrances and exits on Flemingsburg Road and water runoff into Triplett Creek. But both are under state, not city control.

Commission member Tom Carew conceded to a yes vote after voting no on preliminary plans in June.

"The last time, I voted against the development, but developers have met all the requirements of the city, so it's not fair to not approve the plans," Carew said.

He added that he wanted to make it clear that local laws need to be updated.

"The burden is on us and the city to enact ordinances to better control water quality issues," Carew said.

Commission chair Bill Shely said the board is stuck with the laws on the books as of July 10. He said the commission would like to have tighter restrictions, but aside from current planning laws, all members can do is ask Wal-Mart to be better neighbors.

He added that he would like to see the store design the secondary access at the top of Viking Drive so traffic would not use the road that passes the high school as a quicker access to Flemingsburg Road.

Specifically, that could mean a right only turn toward Flemingsburg Road.

Engineer Charles Garcia said that is not something Wal-Mart has spoken to the transportation cabinet about. Local developers said left access would be necessary to reach a potential subdivision behind the proposed superstore location.

The city unanimously voted to annex the property beside Bratton Branch this spring.

One engineer with Wal-Mart said there would be discharge into Triplett Creek, but there are no water quality requirements in this situation.

There will be unavoidable impacts to water and wetlands with the potential development of a Wal-Mart Superstore, according to an environmental report.

Redwing Ecological, a firm hired by state environmental officials to assess the proposed site, said approximately .085 acres of waters and wetlands and 1,835 linear feet of intermittent stream would be affected near the Bratton Branch- KY 32 site.

The report further said that wetland areas near the Bratton Branch project are of relatively low quality and have been highly disturbed by past earth work and tree clearing.

Proposed mitigation is to be provided through the creation of 1.4 acres of wetland at an off-site location and payment of an in-lieu fee of $307,799 to compensate for impacted streams, Redwing said.

The report also stated that the project is not likely to have an adverse affect on any federally threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat.

Wal-Mart is planning to build a 205,000 square foot superstore and parking on the 34-acre tract, one- half mile north of I-64.

Wal-Mart developers propose moving 3.25 million cubic yards of dirt and rock to fill areas for the new development.

Since the hillside must be moved, retaining walls are proposed for both sides of the development. They could range from 12 to 18 feet high, yet the development itself would be about 40 feet above Bratton Branch Road.

Hallwood Development owns the property, and is marketing it to the store. Hallwood is owned by Larry Breeze, Philip Lewis and Dwayne Allen.

Breeze said Wal-Mart is under contract to purchase the property if all agencies approve, and development could start within a month.

Planning commission members are Bill Shely, Jim Fluty, Randy Stacy, Jan Dacci, Randy Wells, Mickey Reffitt, Phil Martin, Steve Wright, Tom Carew, Billy Hough, Dudley Herron and Bob Wolfe.

Stacy and Herron were absent from the meeting.

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