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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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Joseph Visconti February 16, 2012 at 04:24 PM
It is the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce intension to include ALL members of the community in a discussion of not only Costco, but the entire Rte 202 re development process. There is a meeting planned for Thursday, February 23 at 9am, which will answer any and all questions. The YCC encourages responses from not only Smart Growth, but from all organizations that have an interest in Yorktown, and simply request an open mind to weigh the options presented.
Bill February 16, 2012 at 06:35 PM
The problem here is that many of us think that Costco WOULD dramatically "benefit the long-term quality of life in Yorktown".
Bill February 16, 2012 at 07:08 PM
BTW there is so much BS in this "report" that I feel dirty just reading it. You claim that real estate values will go down. Back it up with proof of what happened with BJ's opening. You claim that the town will have to hire more police as a result of Costco opening. Did this happen with BJ's? I never see police there. If they will put BJ's out of business (which I doubt is true) then won't the net addition of traffic be zero? Do people complain about BJ's (and supermarket) trucks making their deliveries? The JV Mall has empty stores because the town board stupidly turned down their expansion plans many years ago and people shop elsewhere for a decent mall. If the mall were larger, it would be more attractive to other retailers. Joanne's closed because the space was rented to Michael's. Food Emporium closed because they converted it to an A&P and it took a bankruptcy filing for them to admit that it was stupid to have 2 identical stores within walking distance of each other. The store is still empty but I wouldn't be surprised if it was because A&P still owns it and does not want to allow another supermarket to take it and give them more competition. Linens and Things and Circuit City went out of business, they did not specifically close their local stores. And best of all, Cortlandt has had numerous 0% tax increases and they have many big box stores. That alone should be proof that they are not bad for the local economy, in fact they are GOOD.
Bill February 16, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Also, are we supposed to feel sorry for Sammy, who owns most of the local gas stations? Do you enjoy paying his high prices? Is that more important than allowing residents the chance to save 20c+ per gallon of gas? Is there any evidence of local gas stations closing in Nanuet where Costco opened a gas station? Also,why no mention of Target in Mt. Kisco when you talk about their downtown? And until we are situated between towns like Bedford and Chappaqua (and Armonk and who knows what else not too far away), I don't see stores of the caliber that Mt. Kisco has downtown coming to Yorktown.
Jonathan Nettelfield February 16, 2012 at 11:20 PM
We are looking forward to hearing about the new Town Board's "vision" for the 202 corridor, in particular how it relates to the Sustainability Study and the Comprehensive Plan, the costs of which (over $1million) were born by the taxpayers.
Jennie Sunshine February 17, 2012 at 02:23 AM
If Costco is built adjacent to the Taconic on the north side of 202 - at 151,000 square feet, Costco will be 38,000 square feet larger than the BJ's Wholesale Club (113,000 sq. feet) across the street. That is a very large store to fill and keep filled. (In contrast, the average Walmart store is only 102,000 square feet and the average Home Depot is 130,000 square feet.) That's a lot of mac trucks tracing their way from 684 through 35 through 202 and with (on average) 700 cars visiting a Costco per hour...passing homes, schools, churches, the Yorktown Police Station, the Ambulance core and possibly impeding citizen's ability to get to our closest hospital, The Hudson Valley Hospital Center, I don't understand why a Big Box Store would even be considered at this location. The other Costco's in our area are all located in urban areas like Yonkers, Port Chester, Nanuet and Norwalk. We are not urban...at least....not yet...
Bill February 17, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Why would the evil big box store want to be at that location? Gee, maybe because they see BJ's and other stores like Staples across the street and want to be nearby? Maybe because they see that most of their customers will come off the Taconic and not have to take local roads? As I've said in other threads, we have plenty of trucks delivering supplies to other stores. Does anyone see them clogging up the roads? I don't even notice them on Route 6 by the evil big box stores of the Cortlandt Town center. UPS has dozens (or more) trucks per day going in and out of their depot in downtown Yorktown. Where do you suppose those trucks come from? I don't see that causing massive traffic jams. I do not consider Nanuet an urban area. It's a standard suburban shopping area. The 700 cars per hour sounds way overstated. I assume you got it from some Costco material but that would mean 12 customers entering and leaving every minute and there is no way I have seen that kind of volume even on a busy Saturday afternoon. Just keep making stuff up to scare people. Maybe you've eventually come up with something that doesn't sound desperate. I just hope that the current town board is smarter than the group that got convinced to reject Home Depot many years ago before they went to Cortlandt because big box stores were evil. And we know how well that's worked out for Yorktown.
Andrea Smith February 17, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Just so everyone knows Costco supports their local businesses. They try to enhance and help their members grow their business. They want to save their members and give them quality products. If a community has an opportunity to have Costco come to their neighborhood jump welcome them. It means good jobs with a company that is willing to take care of there employees, members, vendors, that can ultimately reward their shareholders.
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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