MARQUETTE - The Marquette City Planning Commission on Tuesday approved initial plans for a Sears Hometown store to be constructed next to the Econo Foods building on O'Dovero Drive.
The new 90-foot by 80-foot building would be constructed at the west edge of the existing Econo Foods parking lot and would contain household goods and appliances, as well as lawn and garden tools.
Pat Taylor, who will own the new Marquette store, and project engineer Bob Cambensy said they expect the store to draw local customers unwilling to travel to the nearest Sears in Negaunee.
"(The Hometown stores) are designed to not carry as much as the full-line stores, such as Green Bay," said Taylor, who also owns Negaunee's Sears Hometown.
Taylor said existing Marquette locations had been considered, but it was tough to find a building with a loading dock and the desired 5,000 square feet of retail space.
The planning commission voiced some concern about traffic flow in the area and difficulty associated with turning left from O'Dovero Drive onto northbound McClellan.
"At certain times of the day or days of the week ... there is a significant issue trying to make a left turn there," Planning Commissioner Gary Moran said. "It's a nightmare."
Planning Commissioner Taylor Klipp said he would be interested in having a traffic study conducted near the intersection, but the board didn't ultimately charge city staff with that task. Klipp also made the motion to approve the site plan for the new building.
"I welcome the additional development on a site that was planned for commercial development," Planning Commissioner Steve Lawry said.
The commission voted 7-0 in support of the plan.
According to the Sears website, there are more than 900 Hometown stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Guam.
Planning Commissioner Elizabeth Roberts was not present at Tuesday's meeting.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.