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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.

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 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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