An 11-foot wide difference of opinion has stalled final approval of the site plan for a controversial department store and shopping mall in Farmington.

The city's Planning Commission has tabled site plan approval for a proposed K mart store on the northwest corner of U.S. 89 and Shepard Lane until its next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 10.But whether the proposal will be resolved then is uncertain because the terms of two current Planning Commission members expire before the next meeting and replacements have not yet been named.

The Planning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for the shopping center in October. That approval was appealed by a group of residents to the City Council in November.

After a 31/2-hour public hearing, the council agreed it had no legal grounds to turn down the proposed development, voting to uphold the planning commission's actions.

Council members told the nearly 100 residents attending the hearing that their concerns about the project - including its physical appearance, traffic flow and landscaping - would be handed back to the Planning Commission, charged with approving the shopping center's design and layout.

When the commission met Dec. 13, the width of an access road and buffer zone on the west side of the shopping center deadlocked the commission, prompting the tabling of the plan.

City planner Craig Hinckley, along with council member and planning commissioner Greg Bell, are asking for a 91-foot setback between the shopping center and the residential properties to the west.

Jim Talbot, the site developer, told the commission that was unacceptable and said continuing delays in construction are endangering the project. His agreement with K mart requires that the store be open by Nov. 1, 1991.