Costco gets permit, decision will be appealed

Businesses and residents neighboring the proposed Costco development argued Wednesday their concerns were ignored by city and Costco representatives in their haste to bring the warehouse giant to Carson City.

Costco got a green light for construction from the Carson City Regional Planning Commission on Wednesday, but the decision will be appealed to the city's Board of Supervisors.

Richard Elmore, attorney for Gene and Judy Lepire, owners of neighboring Silver State Recreational Vehicle Resort, said the development would bring significant traffic and noise to the area that haven't been addressed.

"This project should have never been approved in the manner proposed," Elmore said. "The Lepires are not opposed to the Costco project. They are struck by the speed with which this project was pushed through. My clients are simply asking for the respect due to long-standing property owners."

City Manager John Berkich said many of the issues concerning the property owners - traffic, the intersection at Old Clear Creek Road and Highway 395, access to property and noise - are technical issues that have only recently taken form.

"We haven't had the opportunity to sit down with property owners prior to this meeting due to the accelerated rate of this project," Berkich said. "We think we'll be successful in addressing the issues."

Jim Alderson, owner of Bodine's on Old Clear Creek Road, said the preliminary road design for Clear Creek and Highway 395 would make it hard to get to his business and the mobile home park behind Bodine's.

"There would be one barely open entrance where there used to be open access," Alderson said. "With a little cooperation, this development doesn't need to be at our expense."

Commissioners voted 5-to-1 in favor of the development. Commissioner Gail Farley was absent and Commissioner William Malley voted against the project.

"I don't want to be part of the intersection," Malley said. "I can't vote for a project that will bring that much traffic to one area."

In a nearly three-hour presentation, Costco representatives explained their plans for a 15-acre site between Highways 395 and 50 in South Carson City. Construction is expected to start on the store in mid-April. The store would be open by the end of summer, said Jack Frank, Costco vice president of real estate.

Plans call for construction of a 148,385-square-foot warehouse with 749 parking spaces and a six-pump gas station across Clear Creek Road from Fuji Park.

"We're trying to bring value to our members through goods and services," Frank said. "That is our goal. We're asking to join your community, so it's incumbent upon us to be good neighbors. We don't want to cause problems for anyone."

Traffic estimates show 6,700 cars a day flowing through the Clear Creek/Highway 395 intersection, including truck traffic making deliveries to the store.

Elmore argued that the relatively peaceful area would be altered by the massive increase in traffic, and the noisiest parts of the Costco business were positioned near the only area with residents. Elmore also said a sound wall should be considered along the Lepires' southern property line. Planning commissioners did require an extra masonry wall along the eastern property line shared by Costco and the RV park to cut the noise.

Members of the Fuji Park Users Association were concerned with how the improvements to Clear Creek Road would affect their summer events.

City staff members asked that property owners and the Parks and Recreation Department be updated regarding all construction. The city is working on requests from the park users to handle parking at the fairgrounds.

City officials also promised they would meet with residents and business owners in the area to work on their concerns.


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