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Yorktown Smart Growth Distributes "True Costs of Costco" Information Kit

Members of the groups are monitoring major development projects planned for the town.

Members of Yorktown Smart Growth, an organization designed by residents to monitor major development projects planned for the town, has released an information kit about the effects of the proposed Costco Wholesale Club on the community.

Titled "The True Costs of Costco," the 11-page document is a summary of the likely outcomes if a major new big-box store is built at the junction of the Taconic Parkway and Route 202.

Jonathan Nettelfield, member of the group, said the kit is intended to provide residents and businesses in Yorktown and the surrounding communities with a "more realistic picture of the costs to the community of this planned development."

"In doing so it will serve as a counterweight to the '' argument being put forward by the developers and their supporters," he said. 

Nettelfield said the public is often not engaged in major planning decisions, partly due to lack of time and attention, but also because the planning process is "largely controlled by developers and others who would profit from development."

In the "The True Costs of Costco," the organization cites traffic problems, noise, air pollution, toxic runoff, and other adverse environmental effects as a result of the box store coming into town. They said they believe that contrary to what they've been told, Costco would "not boost the local economy, especially when the impact on existing retailers and the cost of additional government services are factored in."

The developer has submitted the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to the Planning Board, the lead agency for the project and once the board accepts the DEIS as complete, it will be posted on the town's website for review and public hearings will be conducted.

"There’s still time for the citizens and business owners in Yorktown to learn from the experiences of other towns about the real impact of a big-box store on a community," Nettelfield said.

(Click on the pdf file attached to this article to read the full document.)

According to Yorktown Chamber of Commerce president Joseph Visconti, Costco's plan calls for storm water management and a sewer line, which will tie in 10-12 homes along Old Crompond Road at the developer's cost. 

In addition, he said Costco would pay $1.17 million in school taxes without a single student attending school (student costs are $25,000 per year 2011) and will contribute back to the community 1 percent of the gross sales. According to Visconti, there would be road condition improvements, creation of 140 permanent jobs and hundreds of new construction jobs .

Members said the Yorktown Smart Growth's goal is to promote the kind of growth that will benefit the long-term quality of life in Yorktown. Formed in 2011, the citizen activist organization is dedicated to providing information about major development projects and encouraging a wider participation of Yorktown residents in shaping them.

For more information, click here

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Bill February 19, 2012 at 03:52 AM
So, I knew that most of the so called "facts" in this report sounded bogus (which of course is a much nicer word than "lies"), but the 700 cars per hour number seemed pretty official so I figured that the odds of it being made up was pretty slim, even if it made no sense (12 customers per minute, really?). And note the "Smart Growth" people claim the 700 isn't even the maximum, but the average (as Jennie posted here), so I am guessing they claim it could be as many as 1000 extra cars arriving at Costco during peak hours. Well, I received a copy of the official traffic study today, and as I expected, the increase in traffic is nowhere hear what this report claims. For AM rush hour, the increase is a whopping 2%; for the PM rush hour, it's 3.8%, and for Saturday peak hour, it's 6.7%, and even then the increase is only 183 cars per hour. And given that there will finally be traffic improvements to route 202, I expect that the delays we have now will finally be fixed, something that has been promised for over a decade. Knowing the real numbers, I am now pretty sure that there is nothing of truth in this report and I certainly hope that the Town Board will not use any of it as a basis for rejecting Costco.
Bill February 19, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I would rather not say where I got it from but I think that anyone who analyzes the 700 cars per hour number would realize that it makes absolutely no sense. It means 12 cars entering and leaving PER MINUTE. It means 12 people finishing checking out and leaving the store (after having their receipt checked at the door) EVERY MINUTE.If an average checkout time is 3 minutes then you'd need 36 registers to keep up. I've never a store anywhere near that busy. And we're being told that 700 is the average number? Since it won't be nearly as busy on weekdays as it is on weekends, that means it could be double the 700 number, which had already not passed the sniff test. The report claims that 700 cars is Costco's number. Where did IT come from?
Bill February 19, 2012 at 03:28 PM
And according to the YSG report, the Yorktown police will need to add additional officers and maybe an additional shift as well and that sounds as real as the 700 car number. The YSG report appears to be made up of questionable facts that they probably got from groups around the country who have tried to fight big box stores over the past couple of decades. It probably reuses some of the stuff used to scare the town into rejecting Homart over a decade ago before the Cortlandt Town Center (and BJ's) opened in the area and people realized that this fear of big box stores was groundless.
Paul Moskowitz February 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I too would like to see what is in store for Route 202. The prospect of an added 758 cars per hour does not sound good to me. The 758 per hour figure, of course, was in the EAF (Environmental Assessment Form) provided to the town by the developer. You just cannot make this stuff up.
Mark April 09, 2012 at 11:43 PM
The "Smart Growth" group seems to leave out a lot of public information, such as the fact that Costco gives back 1% of its pre-tax profit to the town its store is located in. That's a HUGE number with the amount of volume they do! I am completely in support of Yorktown receiving more tax benefits and having great shopping and gas prices as well.

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