Juneau's Fred Meyer store will keep storage vans and outdoor sales out of customer parking areas, according to expansion plans that went before the Planning Commission on Tuesday night.
Without opposition, the commission approved a conditional-use permit for remodeling the store at 8181 Glacier Highway, as well as a variance to allow fewer parking spaces than the city would normally allow for the size of the expanding building.
But one commissioner said parking already is a problem.
"It's a bad site now," Marshal Kendziorek said. "When are you going to get the vans out of there?"
Architect Michael Mackin of the Portland, Ore.-based Sienna Architecture Co., said that because of shipping practices in Juneau, large amounts of goods show up at one time and the vans are needed for storage.
Charles Moseley, entitlements manager for the Portland-based retail chain, said that with a bigger store, there will be more space for the goods inside the store.
The 56,532-square-foot expansion is projected to begin early in 2006 and be completed in the fall, Moseley said. According to the plans, remodeling will leave the store with about 172,000 square feet of floor space.
Plans call for an additional 156 parking spaces, bringing the total to 743 larger stalls. Some of those spaces would cover the site of the existing Glacier Highway branch of the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, which will have a new location within the expanded store. The former Juneau Electronics building also will come down for additional parking.
Most of the addition will be on the end of the store nearest the credit union. That area is planned for its grocery area.
City planner Greg Chaney said the store already is short of the city standard of one space for every 200 square feet of retail space. It currently comes out to one for every 212 square feet, he said. The plans call for one space for every 242 square feet.
Planning Commissioners decided there wouldn't be that many, because some spaces would likely be taken up by shopping cart-collection sites. At the suggestion of Dan Bruce, commissioners voted to require at least 735 parking spaces.
Plans also call for improving pedestrian access to the bus stop. Moseley said Fred Meyer tried unsuccessfully to work with Capital Transit to include a stop at the front of the store.
Kendziorek sided with Fred Meyer in his votes Tuesday, despite questioning its current parking situation. "I frankly believe that what's going to take care of their parking problem will be Wal-Mart and Home Depot," he said, referring to national chain stores that have recently bought property in the Lemon Creek area.