Wednesday evening, the Merrill City Plan Commission took just over three minutes to unanimously approve a petition from Breaman Merrill Ford to close the intersection of Cedar Street at North Center Avenue. Consideration of the petition came as a recommendation from last week’s Board of Public Works meeting.
During that meeting, the board also voted unanimously to approve Breaman’s proposal to vacate Cedar Street, as part of a planned expansion. The expansion would consist of a 4,000 square foot addition to the south of the current location, and involves the demolition of two buildings adjacent to the dealership.
The expansion will include employee parking, additional show lot space and a car wash for use by the dealership. According to Breaman Merrill Ford owner Joe Breaman, the intent of closing the Cedar Street intersection would be for the safety of employees and customers utilizing the new expansion and the current storefront.
The proposal didn’t come without its share of concern, however.
During last week’s meeting, 2nd District Alderman Pete Lokemoen spoke at length of concerns expressed to him by a resident in the vicinity of the proposed expansion. Those concerns included snow removal and traffic using private driveways to turn around, once the intersection is closed and signage is in place.
Wednesday’s decision by the Plan Commission will now send the matter to a public hearing before the common council. The hearing must first be publicly posted for 40 days and advertised in the Merrill Courier, the city’s official newspaper.
According to City Administrator Dave Johnson, the 40 day requirement could possibly be met by the May meeting of the Common Council, but the hearing will most likely come before the council during its June meeting.