The commercial strip on south Regal Street near the Palouse Highway could be getting busier.
Dr. Ralph Berg, a Spokane heart surgeon, and his wife, Mary, are asking the city to approve a large new supermarket just north of Shopko at 44th and Regal.
They bought the property several years ago and have been planning the development for more than a year.
They are proposing a 70,000-square-foot supermarket on the site with 337 parking spaces and landscaping. A 7,000-square-foot video store would be built in front of the supermarket, along with a 3,500-square-foot Wendy’s hamburger restaurant.
The Bergs have not disclosed the identity of the supermarket.
Video Unlimited, a business owned by family members, may occupy the smaller retail building, said Rick Berg, an architect on the project and son of the owners.
Residents living in the area said they fear the development will increase traffic congestion along Regal and aggravate storm-water runoff problems in southeast Spokane. The development lies in the path of a natural drainage basin the county has been eyeing for a future storm-sewer system.
So far the developers have not been asked to include plans for a storm sewer across the property, said Rick Berg. Residents of the Moran Prairie Neighborhood Association said the lack of planning for storm sewers is an obvious oversight the city must correct.
Storm-water runoff in southeast Spokane is so severe that county commissioners earlier this year passed a law requiring that all new development use evaporation ponds instead of grassy depressions that allow water to seep into the ground.
The city has no such requirements.
The county is in the middle of a study on runoff, and the low spot running from 44th and Regal to the northeast is considered a likely location for a storm-water system.
Susan Brudnicki, president of the neighborhood association, said her group will try to persuade the city to work with the county in solving the runoff problem. She said the supermarket development “could very well exacerbate the county’s crisis conditions.”
Developers for the project are planning to landscape a large grass settling pond and funnel storm water into it from the buildings and the parking lots. However, there are no plans for handling water moving across the site.
The grass settling pond would be planted over three rock-lined ditches that could absorb excess water. They are called rock “galleries” and have been used in other developments in the area.
The city is poised to approve the project.
In 1989 the previous owners of the property won a zone change for a similar supermarket project on six of the eight acres involved in the Berg proposal. The Bergs bought the property several years ago from M&P; Investments Co.
Because the original project was not built, the city is requiring the Bergs to obtain approval of a new design plan.
Also, the Bergs want to add two acres to the northeast portion of the site, and that will require a zone change for that parcel. The northeast section is currently zoned for apartments, not businesses.
In 1989 the city hearing examiner ordered the land owners not to oppose any storm-sewer development.
Engineering studies show the site was once a wetland that has been reclaimed with fill dirt. The studies warn the owners not to put buildings or pavement over the fill unless they excavate it and allow the soil to dry.
The wet fill dirt could settle and shift, causing buildings or pavement to crack. A soil engineer said it might be better to excavate the fill dirt and replace it with rock, which would drain water and be more suitable for the compaction needed to support the weight of buildings or pavement.
Rick Berg said he and his parents are aware of the problems but haven’t decided how to solve them.
Traffic studies show the project would draw about 2,400 vehicles a day, Berg said. The developers have agreed to give up about 15 feet of land at the front of the property so Regal could be widened with a left-turn lane in the middle.
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