TERRE HAUTE —
A new commercial building is in the early planning stages for the southside Walmart shopping area.
The Vigo County Area Plan Commission on Wednesday night gave its approval for two adjacent lots to become a single lot, allowing for the future development of a single, multi-tenant commercial building on the site, which is along U.S. 41 next to Ryan’s Steakhouse.
Thompson Thrift, a Terre Haute developer, sought the replatting of the approximately 1-acre lot, which formerly housed a Murphy Oil gasoline station, which operated under a lease from Walmart.
One tenant is secured for the building so far, but the identity of that tenant is not yet being released, said Tim Fears, general counsel for Thompson Thrift. The building will be 7,950 square feet, he told the plan commission.
Meanwhile, a representative of the nearby Greenbriar Village apartments, which are north of the site, also spoke to the plan commission, informing it of possible drainage problems associated with the Walmart development. More than 40 units at Greenbriar flooded during the major flood of June 2008, and 12 units flooded last year during a much smaller rain event, he said.
Greenbriar has no issue with granting the replatting request for Thompson Thrift; however, the apartment complex believes potential drainage problems must be addressed before future improvements on Walmart-owned property can be granted, stated an attorney representing Greenbriar.
Darren Maher, executive director of the Area Planning Department, the professional agency handling land use matters in the county, said he will speak with county officials about concerns Greenbriar raised.
The attorney representing Greenbriar told the plan commission that ponds designed to hold flood water only for a short time may be now holding water long term, reducing their storage capacity during a big rain.
The ponds may also have filled with silt, further reducing their storage capacity, he said.
Thompson Thrift learned of the drainage concerns Wednesday, Fears said, and will “digest them.” The planned new commercial development will utilize existing drainage for the site that flows to the south, toward Honey Creek, not north, toward Greenbriar,
• Also Wednesday evening, Fred Wilson, president of the Area Plan Commission, a 14-member, volunteer body charged with reviewing rezoning and subdivision requests in the county, said the commission’s personnel committee has launched its efforts to find an assistant director for the Area Planning Department. Maher took over as acting director after the departure of former director Jeremy Weir last spring. Maher had been the assistant director. The commissioners named Maher as director of the planning department in November.
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@