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Costco: It's Not a Done Deal

Yorktown is at a crossroads: Costco will change the town forever. Explore what this means for you and the community.

There is now a proposal before the Yorktown Planning Board to build a 151,000 square foot Costco at the intersection of 202-35 and the Taconic Parkway. The building would be surrounded by 8 acres of macadam parking lot and include a huge gas station. The developers have been trying desperately to give the mistaken impression that this is a done deal. Far from it.

In order to ensure the most sensible direction for the growth of our town, the citizens of Yorktown came together, hired experts and spent years and well over a hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer money to create the best plan for development. The Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the Town Board in 2010, and now has the force of law. To quote from the Plan itself,

“In the end, not only did the process yield a Plan of exceptional quality and detail, but it also built the consensus and community support necessary for the Plan to be implemented in the future. This is truly the community's plan.”

The community's plan. That's us: we the people of Yorktown. Essentially, it calls for the town to continue to grow as it has for the past 200 years: mixed use. Stores, restaurants, offices, housing: the kind of place people don't just want to live but are proud to call home.

The proposed Costco is the exact opposite of this vision. Fourteen acres of building and macadam on the top of a hill, bathed in the harsh light of 25-foot lamps, serviced by a constant stream of semi-trailers on our local roads. Making a cynical mockery of our carefully considered plan for growth – the town we envision and hope for – the developers don't even bother claiming that it in any way comports with it: they say only that it is "allowed."

But there are any number of reasons why this plan for a superstore will forever alter the nature of our community. Over the next few days, we'll look at them in detail. In the meantime, if you want to know more, go to nocostco.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Adam M September 22, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Because Costco is the only business of its size who can actually provide our community with a plethora of benefits who is proposing to open a location in our town. Are there other businesses lined up wanting to develop on this land? We cannot sit around for years to come and wait for something to happen. It's in our faces right now.
Adam M September 22, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Also, who is opening a "people-friendly hamlet" in that location? You? That land has been empty for quite some time and we've had our chance if that's what our town really wanted. As I have stated before and will state again, communities are comprised of a diverse group of businesses and organizations. Costco's addition will not magically make 10 other national retailers pop up in a row down 202.
Jim McKean September 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM
A recent article said that that plot of land is worth $30 million. Do you seriously believe that there is one and only one possibility for developing it? If derelict buildings have stood there for so long, then shame on the Town Board for allowing that; but it's not for lack of offers, you can be sure of that. Developers often warehouse property -- particularly in the worst economic times since the Depression. And it's their job to maximize their return -- and as awful as this might be for the people of Yorktown, that's not their concern. It is very much the concern of our Town Board -- we elected them to watch out for our best interests. What makes the most money for a few developers does not always make the best sense for the people who have to live with it. It's not either/or; this or nothing. There are many, many ways to develop that land that would give them a fair return and actually do what our town motto says: Progress with Preservation. It's worked for 200 years.
Bill September 27, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Jim, are you a real estate expert? Have you considered that the fact that the land is worth so much (and to be honest, $30m seems high, given that I think it's being sold for $6m) is what forces most proposals to not be considered? Why would anyone buy it for office space when there is a glut of office space in the county in areas far more desirable for offices than Yorktown (and I didn't see proposals before the economy went south, either)? There was a proposal for an upscale shopping area there a few years ago (I happened to be at a town board working session when it was presented). It appeared to die soon after the initial presentation to the town board. And how can you blame the town board for lack of development proposals there? It's not like they own the property. Just because you think this is an awful proposal for the town does not think that everyone thinks that way, in fact I think you folks are in the minority on this. This brings in a tremendous about of property taxes for the town and school districts, and a huge amount of sales tax, some of which will go to the town. And it puts Yorktown on the retail map in a way other than having a crappy mall, which is the way it is because they could not get approval from the town board to make it a size that would have made it competitive with others in the region. And many residents will actually enjoy having someplace as great as Costco to shop at in their own town.
Bill September 27, 2012 at 01:37 AM
BTW, the truly awful thing the town board could do would be to reject this proposal and then wait while the land sits idle for another decade, generating a fraction of the property and sales tax it could have while people sit in traffic on Route 202 heading from town to the Taconic and back, and Costco finds another town to give the tax revenue to. Then you folks can start working on protesting the State Land proposal further down Route 202, and deprive Yorktown residents of more taxes and shopping, so we can continue shopping in other towns and giving them our tax revenue. Now that would truly be awful.

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