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What Will Costco do to Yorktown?

A close look at what Costco will do to Yorktown. Costco is not a done deal.

I don't know where this idea is coming from that we're not real people. I'd rather be addressing the issues – there are so many of them that make it clear what a disaster is heading our way.

But it's turning personal; rather than respond to the issues I raised yesterday people are trying to divert attention by saying we're not real. That we're trying to 'hide' who we are. That's nonsense.

It couldn't be any clearer who I am: unlike "Vegas" I'm not hiding behind an alias. And it's very clear on the website nocostco.com who we are. The Concerned Citizens of Yorktown are individuals, but also include groups like Yorktown Smart Growth and Green Yorktown.

When we saw that the Chamber of Commerce used a vote by the Executive Committee to endorse Costco – ignoring the very real harm that a superstore like this does to local businesses – then we decided to start a new business group, The Yorktown Merchants Association. No wonder they're screaming so loud! They even tried to stop us from being heard at the Town Board Meeting this past Tuesday night. Free speech? I guess that's not good for business.

Please – any merchant or business in Yorktown, visit nocostco.com and find out just what kind of an existential threat you're facing. And it's not just merchants –Costco offers professional services, too. Look, I'm a violin-maker; this is not a matter of self-interest on my part. As far as I know, Costco does not offer high-end hand-made classical acoustic stringed instruments. But I have neighbors and friends who will be directly affected. And I don't want to see row after row of derelict buildings and have my choices reduced to the few options that some faceless buyers somewhere out there – where are they, anyway? Not Yorktown; – have decided is the best for its customers.

I like to make my own choices. I like the personal contact with the people I shop with – they respond to my needs, rather than computer printouts of the maximized profits per unit moved. I don't know, maybe it's just me: but the idea of getting in the car and sitting in an endless traffic jam to save a few dollars on a crate of oranges, half of which will go bad before I get a chance to eat them – well, they do serve good hot dogs. Although you can get a better lunch anywhere downtown – at least for now. While we still have a downtown.

And you can get those oranges at a great local store – Turco's. Or (at least until the end of October, when they close for the season) the Meadows Farm Market. The point is this: Costco likes to have this air of inevitability. A slick marketing campaign – they are masters at this kind of thing. But we are thinking people. We are good old Yankee skeptics. And when we take a close look at what's being offered, it's pretty clear that it's a pig in a poke. An over-sized shopping cart full of them, hauled in by an endless stream of semi-trucks.

If you want to know who we are, it's there for anyone to see at nocostco.com: we are the concerned citizens of Yorktown. We are people, not a target demographic. You want to know who we are individually? We have respect for the individual rights and privacy of our members; we can't just put their names up. But we're going to start, today, an open list: anyone can add their name. If you're with us, add your name. Make your voice heard.

I'd like to know who 'Vegas' is. I'd like to know who those few were on the Chamber of Commerce who voted to endorse Costco. Was one of them the lawyer for the developers? I'll say it one last time: We have no problem with anyone knowing who we are. We are the people of Yorktown. One ground rule going forward, at least for this blog: no comments will be considered or replied to if the person posting uses an alias. Fair is fair; if we're willing to speak for ourselves, as real people, then so should everyone.

For all we know, 'Vegas' and its ilk are sitting at Costco headquarters. Or in the offices of the law firm representing the developers. Which is fine – we'd love to have you join the discussion, and convince of why it would be such a great thing to have you come to town! But do it under your own name: show us that you're real people too. We take responsibility for what we say: it's not too much to ask the same of you. 

And I hope that's the end of this diversionary nonsense. Tomorrow we can get back to what we really need to be doing: looking at the issues in detail. There's a lot to cover before the public meeting of the Planning Board Oct. 15. 

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.

Bill September 24, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Ros, What happens when any of the state roads needs maintenance? The state fixes it. It's not like we're talking about a back country road that will all of a sudden be inundated with traffic. I don't see Route 6 falling apart due to all of the traffic that was added due to the Cortlandt Town Center (and yes I acknowledge there is traffic there). And I've yet to see a valid example of an additional town expense.
Scott Petricig September 24, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Actually Evan the "@" symbol was common long before Twitter and was meant to say "In response to:". It makes complete sense to me and I fail to see why you'd be so annoyed by it. It actually makes it easier for me to follow the posts. It's actually always bothered me that somehow Twitter users screwed it up by putting it as part of a username, like "my twitter account is @something". It should only be used in a response to something.
Bill September 24, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Scott, that other station is a Stop & Shop supermarket. My experience is that they are often the cheapest in the area (the one up in Poughkeepsie is), and the one I went to in Waterbury, CT was matching the BJ's gas a short distance away. The Mobil stations nearby are much more money. Also, your friend neglected to mention that Costco gas also takes Mastercard and Visa debit cards (which you probably have as your ATM card). Costco members can get their True Savings AMEX card that doubles as your membership card. No annual fee and it gives a 3% rebate on gas (4% for a business card) and 1% on everything else (2% on travel and restaurants). The rebate is paid as a Costco check that you can spend or cash at the store. If you don't want that, there are plenty of no-fee AMEX cards that you can get. Sorry for the ad there. I think I was only using the @ when I was replying to something not directly above so it would be obvious. And Evan, Twitter is most definitely not just 18-34 males. Yet another thing you're wrong about.
Bill September 24, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Scott, that is good news. Of course it will do nothing for people who get stuck in traffic heading from downtown Yorktown towards the Taconic since there is still only one lane in each direction there.
Bill September 24, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Mark -- I somehow missed your post but thanks to your link just saw the property taxes. I suspected that the $18k number was wrong but hadn't bothered to look at the DEIS. It just shows that the load of BS that the opponents have been posting. Oh, and here is the piece that utterly debunks the BS claims that an additional police officer will be required. They estimate *2* calls a week. The Town incurs costs to maintain public facilities and servicing developments, etc. over the entire Town. In the Yorktown Police Department’s letter of May 25, 2011, the Police Chief indicated that the Department has historically been understaffed. It was further indicated that the Proposed Action could result in an increase of 106 annual calls for service. This translates to an average increase of two additional calls for service per week. It is the Applicant’s opinion that these two weekly calls could be handled by existing personnel and/or redistribution of existing manpower. Should the Town Board determine that additional personnel would be warranted, the Applicant believes the demand would be a reflection of the overall town needs, attributed to current conditions with only a minor increase resulting from Proposed Action and therefore the Project should not be burdened by costs that are in fact Town-wide costs.
Bill September 24, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Jim -- if you and your crew start posting facts and not complete and utter lies and you will stop the personal attacks. I was being nice and not usually calling them lies but when it's clear that incorrect tax numbers were being posted for the benefit of casting the proposal in a negative light and convincing people that it is a bad deal for the town, there is nothing else to call them.
Bill September 24, 2012 at 01:41 AM
BTW that same section also shows almost $4m annually in sales tax revenue to the county (plus $5.2m to the state). I am sure that the town gets some small piece of the county sales tax revenue, and I'm sure that the state can find it within their coffers to maintain the road with that much additional revenue.
Evan Bray September 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM
I'm a jerk:(. I was trying to be funny after too much football yesterday. I promise no more lame attempts at humor and to stay on topic. And agreed, twitter wasn't the start of the @.
Evan Bray September 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM
@ScottC Lame attempt at humor after too much football. I promise never to mix the two again. And for the record: it was a perfectly legitimate @ing. Also on the record, it was a pleasure to meet you IRL. Personal interactions are underrated.
Scott Carson September 24, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Bill - thanks for the info on the Costco Amex. It surely had to be a better deal than I described. What's interesting to me is - how will BJs compete with this store? Not that I am a BJs aficionado (I hate shopping, period). But no one is going to be a member of both these stores... and BJs doesn't have gas. And while yes, competition is good... how many businesses are going under because of this store? What local store has the negotiating power of a Costco? None. They can't sell Coke for as little as Costco, because it costs them more to get it. I've heard the argument about Costco shoppers going to other stores, but I don't buy it. When I go to BJs, it's only because I need my bulk supplies. I don't then go to other nearby stores. Ever. In and out as quickly as possible.
Bill September 25, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Scott, Costco is really not as cheap on stuff like soda as you may think. If you look for a sale at a supermarket, I'm sure you can do better. Yes, Costco is cheaper than BJ's on some stuff, but I have not compared soda. There ARE people who are members of both clubs I have a co-worker who lives in Ossining who comes to BJ's for some stuff and then goes to Costco for other things. The service deli at BJ's is always busy and I can see people keeping a membership to shop there, perhaps not bothering with Costco. So other than BJ's, which I do think can co-exist with Costco, let's explore what local store might go out of business because of Costco. A supermarket? Turco's is mostly different than what Costco carries (although I can see their butcher losing business given Costco's very high quality meat, but you have to buy a few pounds at a time, I believe). If A&P closes it will be due to their precarious financial situation since with no real competition in Yorktown, I don't see them closing that store. Adams Fairacre Farm just opened up in Wappingers right between the BJ's and Sams Club and is always busy so clearly wholesale clubs do not affect gourmet markets. Supermarkets up there seem to be doing fine, and there's even a Super Walmart next to Sams Club.
Bill September 25, 2012 at 01:56 AM
You have to remember that this is not just a Yorktown thing. Given that we are 30 minutes away from the nearest wholesale club other than BJ's, and there are tens of thousands of people within a 20-30 minute drive, I don't see why there isn't enough demand to support both stores and not affect ANY local store since many of those people are not shopping in Yorktown today. What store has closed as a direct result of BJ's? No one has given me an answer to that.
jo September 25, 2012 at 11:56 AM
I live in Peekskill.. past the Hospital..and I say NO..to Cosco.. the traffic is already at peak.. you want this..put it into Your Heights Area... we have enough going on .. 202 cannot sustain any more traffic in this area..
Evan Bray September 25, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Jo, you should write Mary Foster to let her know. Why? The project is dependent on tieing into te Perkskill sewer system. No one's really expounded on the subject. It's unclear how that works. I think they just throw some money at Perkskill and chant "tax break" three times. Seems like sewer capacity is a valuable and finite thing and I'm not sure how much reserve there; worth investigating, I imagine.
jo September 25, 2012 at 12:19 PM
thanks for the info Evan..however. Foster.. does not listen .. she is shoving down our throats a Fire House fit for a Kingdom... using eminent domain to do it.. sad.. and will burden us forever with higher taxes.. I am beyond disgusted with what poses for leadership here in the North County...
Scott Carson September 25, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Bill - good comments. I don't know the answers to all of your questions and I might not have time to do the research. But I will try. You are right about people flocking from miles around to Costco... that's what scares me. The place is going to be huge and Yorktown will become much more of a destination for outside shoppers (in and out, only shopping at Costco, I would guess). It's going to add traffic to a place I already try to avoid for just that reason. Don't forget all the shoppers that will have to travel East and West to get to Costco via 202. And 1-5 truck deliveries of gas a day to Costco (all between 6am and 9pm). Apparently all other deliveries will be off hours (according to Costco.)
Bill September 25, 2012 at 01:07 PM
But by definition, people already flock from miles to shop at BJ;s, and Staples, and AC Moore, because they are also regional stores. The approved plan for that site had retail. It would hopefully have many people driving there. Or was the hope that it would be a dismal failure and not attract many cars? And the office complex that was part of the approved comp plan would have added hundreds of cars -- DURING WEEKDAY RUSH HOURS, when the road is most overloaded. Why were those cars OK but all of a sudden we get Costco and those cars are NOT OK? How many gas stations are there on 202? Do we have an endless stream of tankers delivering gas to them? Adding one more (even if they sell 2x a normal station) is unacceptable? How many UPS trucks do you see delivering packages to their depot in town? Are people up in arms about that? And I disagree with you (and others) that people will only shop at Costco and then leave. You acknowledge that you hate shopping, but for others, if they have driven a distance to get here, I think there is a decent chance they will shop elsewhere in Yorktown (the rep from the company that owns the Staples/BJ's center acknowledged that retailers like to be near other retailers, clearly for exactly that reason). People heading in on 202 will pass other stores, either in downtown or past the BJ's/Staples shopping center and may very well stop.
Ros Kliban September 25, 2012 at 01:12 PM
There are many homeowners in the Hallocks Mill Sewer district who have been waiting years to become part of the sewer district. We have been waiting for years and Costco just gets them. I haven't heard a peep from the current board about sewers for us. Guess were not big enough and don't produce enough waste to qualify for sewers.
Bob Rohr September 25, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Susan Seigel was working on the Hallocks Mill sewer situation.before she was Supervisor. I was one of the petitoners. She kept us informed every step of the way. Her biggest roadblock was DEP not he Town. It became a dead end and not her fault. My system failed while I was waiting. Had a new modern system put in with way more capcity than Ii need.. i am not longer interested.
Ros Kliban September 25, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Susan Seigel worked tirelessly to help to get us sewered. In fact she was already sewered and did not have to take on the issue, but did anyway. Just an example how how dedicated she is to this community. I just have not heard anything about the sewers from this Town Board. Are they even working with the DEP to try and get us sewered or have just given up? I will probably be in your situation in the future as my septic is over 50 years old. If I have to put in a new system before being sewered then I also would no longer be interested .
Evan Bray September 25, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Ros or Bob, Can either of you help me understand the sewer issue? I was under the impression that YT has no capacity to spare and Costco has to tie in with Peekskill's system. Is it a county or state action to tie in there or would Peekskill have a say. I know that many developments have and new ones (my neighbor for a 700+ person church and a residential area surrounding it, Costco, Trump, etc...) intend to tie into Peekskill's sewer system. Is there the possibility that Peekskill shuts it down and opts to preserve whatever reserve capacity they have for the development they just floated at the end of Welcher Ave? It seems that if YT is at capacity and Peekskiill disapproves the tie-in (this assuming they have that authority), that would kill the project. Or is this something that is inevitable and really can't be denied? I know building code and zoning very well, but DEP/DOH stuff is outside my purview.
Scott Carson September 27, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I understand those who want a Costco and those that do not. Reasonable people can disagree. But if you are on the side that does not want the negative things that would come with this Costco location, please join our email list. It will keep you up to date on meetings and things you can do to make your voice heard. Just click here: http://eepurl.com/pGxfn
Mark Prudenti September 27, 2012 at 01:45 PM
If you understand the amazing benefits that Costco will bring, such as lower taxes, lower food costs, lower gas prices, and the improvement of 202, make sure you attend the next town hall meeting and speak in favor of Costco! Because no matter how many negatives "Smart Growth" highlights about Costco coming to Yorktown in their daily articles on Patch, you can do a little research and find a lot more positives.
Scott Carson September 27, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I am not a member of Smart Growth, but I'm glad they are doing what they are doing. Regardless of what happens, all aspects of this significant development need to be questioned. My neighbors have only heard that a "Costco is coming in" - they don't realize that they still have a say in whether it happens - for better or worse. Nothing wrong with a healthy debate. If it weren't for those Smart Growth people - no one would hear the other side.
Bill September 27, 2012 at 02:04 PM
If they're like people I know. they're excited about this and very surprised that anyone would actually be opposed to it, no less actually mounting an effort to stop it.
Your Neighbor Jennie September 27, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Bill, If a person buys a home in a lovely area such as Yorktown. One can assume that they purchased that home here because they enjoy the open space, the trees, the farms, more room for the kids to stretch out and play - but yet still have most creature comforts like a 20 min. ride to a train station or get some awesome take-out foods or some lovely gifts at "Wishes" boutique... When a massive store like Costco asks to come into our area - which will change the way we shop, the way we can move about our town, how and if we can get to the nearest hospital... and will have a negative impact on our environment (even less trees, more hot pavement and tainted run-off into the Hunter Brook) - these are profound changes to our community and possibly, to our home values. (Plus the fact that once Costco is in - more, similar development will likely follow.) The public deserves to know their rights. They deserve to be given all of the facts in a project like this and then make their own decision. And they need to understand that if they oppose this project, that they have the power to voice their opinion. I'm sure, if you were against something in life, that - as a human being, that you would appreciate the chance to voice YOUR opinion. This is all that is - the chance for those Yorktown residents who bought their homes here - in a quieter place - to know that someday soon, we may no longer be that quiet place that they had originally sought. www.NoCostco.com
Bill September 27, 2012 at 09:48 PM
You folks need to take off your defective rose-colored glasses. People who move to Yorktown know what is here. They know that there is already a "massive" warehouse club -- BJ's and will not be surprised to hear that other retailers want to move to the same commercial stretch of 202. More in my next post..
Bill September 27, 2012 at 09:49 PM
They know that there is a "massive" mall on Route 6 which they will soon learn not to shop at because it does not have stores they want, because the town board refused to let the owners expand it a decade or so ago. They know that there is a "massive" KMart in the middle of town. If they've been down to Route 202 they already know about the traffic jams and clearly do not put the same level of concern on being able to get to the hospital that you do because they realize it is a non-issue. If their real estate agent is smart, they have used BJ's and the other stores in that shopping center as a selling point, telling prospective residents that they won't have to leave Yorktown for at least some of their shopping. If they're moving from an area like Yonkers (or anyplace else where retail is taken for granted and not viewed as evil), they may very well be excited about the new Costco they've heard is coming to town, since they'll have one 5-10 minutes from their house, on the site of an ugly abandoned motel. They will be shocked to hear that there are people still living in the 70's who think that big box stores a bad idea who are trying to block it, and even more shocked when they hear that it would mean turning down millions of dollars in funds that the developer is offering to help fix the traffic problem that everyone complains about. Jennie, you know what they say about people who assume, don't you?
Bill September 28, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I see that there is a new pro-Costco group -- Citizens for a Progressive Yorktown. There was supposedly a press conference this morning at 9:30. Does anyone know where to find them online? I found an empty blog. I think it's great that there will be a pro-Costco group that can yell as loudly as the "smart growth" people. It's shameful that there is an "article" in Yorktown News this week (as well as the Journal News the other day) with just one side's opinion, of course much of it based on lies.
Plamena Pesheva (Editor) September 28, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Bill, I was at the press conference today and will have an article about it. As far as a website, I'm not sure if there is one yet...they said the group was formed on Monday and are literally a few days old. Group representatives of Citizens for a Progressive Yorktown will also start blogging on Patch to share their findings and opinions. Thanks for commenting on here.

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