Smith's/Kroger requests final 30-day extension

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County > Review of road access and building permits should be completed

By Arin McKenna

County officials have announced that Smith’s/Kroger requested the final 30-day extension of its due diligence period for the Trinity Site as the company waits for approval of critical permits.

Smith’s requested the first extension in order to obtain a road access permit that would allow for three entrances to the site.

“We’re working on the access permit with the state, and that’s going pretty well,” Public Works Director Philo Shelton said.

According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation control manual, the proposed intersections are too close together. Smith’s has requested a variance, which must be approved for the design to move forward.

In order to evaluate the variance, NMDOT requested more information on the length of the turn lanes and the traffic study conducted at the site. The information will help NMDOT determine whether the lanes are long enough to prevent queuing. Smith’s has provided those documents.

The final piece of information NMDOT needs to complete its review is a plan for coordinating traffic signals along Trinity Drive. Public Works Director Philo Shelton said the county is expecting the traffic signal timing plan from a consultant by the end of this week.

Smith’s site plan was approved by the Planning and Zoning commission in February.

The retailer has also submitted its application for a building permit to the Community and Economic Development Department, where it is currently being evaluated.

“Once they finish the review they’ll either get a building permit to Smith’s or some things to fix in order to get the permit,” said Deputy County Administrator/Chief Financial Officer Steven Lynne. “I know they’ve been working on that pretty hard.”

Smith’s is currently conducting construction costing as well.

Officials remain confident the development will move forward.

“I think things look pretty positive,” Lynne said. “Kroger’s and Smith’s have been working very hard on this and I’m hopeful this will come together.”

In a move that put the town’s most prized commercial frontage squarely in the hands of the nation’s largest retail grocer, the Los Alamos County Council voted 5-2 to assign the Trinity Site lease to the development arm of the Kroger Company last September.

The decision came about after the most recent developer, North American Development Group, opted out of moving forward on the Trinity Site and made the proposal to assign its lease to Kroger after NADG spent a six month due diligence period determining that the financial return on the project was not sufficient to continue.