After over a year of design changes and public hearings, Linder Village will move forward in Meridian.
City Council on Tuesday night approved the commercial and residential development off Linder Road and Chinden Boulevard.
The site plan is anchored by WinCo Foods and includes retail, restaurants, office space and two-story residential buildings on 81 acres. It was recommended for approval by Meridian Planning and Zoning on Nov. 15 after hours of testimony.
The motion to approve was made by Councilman Ty Palmer and voted in favor of by councilwomen Genesis Milam and Anne Little Roberts. City Council President Joe Borton abstained due to a conflict of interest.
The motion included a requirement that the WinCo Foods building be designed to match the exterior of the other buildings in the development, and that developers work with Ada County Highway District to install a traffic calming measure on North Bergman Avenue and West Bacall Steet in the neighborhood south of the development to deter cut-through traffic.
The revised plan incorporates a special building design for WinCo that reorients the receiving area to shield nearby houses from the noise of trucks unloading. Several residents are still concerned about the noise, though, especially the back-up alarms from trucks.
Roughly 140 people signed a petition to limit WinCo’s delivery hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Councilman Treg Bernt made a motion to approve the application with limited delivery hours, but that motion failed.
During the hearing, residents brought up other concerns, including the potential dangers of cut-through traffic on Bergman Street, lack of pedestrian flow and the lack of adherence to the city’s comprehensive plan. Some who testified said WinCo anchoring this development did not match the nearby neighborhood.
Others spoke in favor of the project. Councilwoman Anne Little Roberts said of the emails the city had received it was “10 to one in favor” of the project.
“I think overall the community is excited about it,” she said.
As part of this development project, Chinden Boulevard is planned to be widened to five lanes from North Linder Road to North Meridian Road in 2020 and then to North Locust Grove Road in 2021. ACHD plans to widen Linder Road from Cayuse Creek — less than a mile south of this site — north to Chinden Boulevard this year, according to the staff report.
The Meridian Library District has talked with developer DMG Real Estate Partners about opening a 15,000-square-foot branch in Linder Village.
On Tuesday, Ken Howell, representative from the site’s developer, said those conversations were still underway. He said the library district hoped to put the plan out to a vote to get the funding needed to open the location.
“We’re only half the equation,” said Howell.
The commercial area of the site is designated mixed use–community — allocated to an area where “community-serving uses and dwellings are seamlessly integrated into the urban fabric.”
Bernt said if the library district facility doesn’t work out, developers need to have another plan that serves a similar purpose.
“I think something civic is essential only because it is a really big part of the designation you’re seeking,” Bernt said. “It’s important you have a Plan B in place.”
Howell said the developer had some other options in mind, but nothing finalized.
Several residents also commented that some of the development’s buildings, including the WinCo Foods, were too big for the designation.
“It really does come down to the fact that WinCo doesn’t fit,” said Greg Reynolds, resident in the Paramount neighborhood next to the development. “We have a big box that turns its back to the neighborhood.”
Residents were also concerned about drivers using roads in the Paramount neighborhood to get to Linder Village, rather than using Linder Road or McMillan Road.
Another petition with around 300 signatures requested Bergman Avenue — one of the roads in the Paramount subdivision — not connect to a collector road south of the commercial area of the development.
“The amount of traffic flowing through my neighborhood is frightening,” said Tyler Wilson, resident of the neighborhood.
Wilson said he has children in Rocky Mountain High School, Paramount Elementary School and Heritage Middle School, which are all a block or two from Linder Village.
Wilson said he worried about his children walking home with the increased traffic. Meridian Police Lt. Shawn Harper said the department gets a lot of calls about speeding cut-through traffic, but the majority of the time those people live in the subdivision.
Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd said the Paramount neighborhood was confusing to navigate through and she doubted people would use the neighborhood to get to Linder Village, rather than using Linder Road or another main road.
The development proposal originally had a hearing planned for Dec. 18, but was pushed to January so more city council members could be present for the decision.
The Meridian City Council voted to send the proposed Linder Village development back to the Planning and Zoning Commission last January after extensive changes were made to the plan.