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Costco Supporters Fight Back Critics of the Development

Citizens for a Progressive Yorktown, supported by Costco's developer Breslin Realty, announced their launch in response anti-Costco efforts.

Supporters of the proposed Costco in Yorktown are fighting back a group of residents who have been speaking in opposition of the store's development on Route 202.

The newly formed pro-group, "Citizens for a Progressive Yorktown," who are supported by the developer, made their announcement at a news conference at the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce office on Friday.

Comprised of about a dozen residents, including local business owners, the group responded to concerns related to traffic, tax benefits and how the development might affect small business owners.

Rich Leahy, owner of Atlantic Appliance since 1975, who co-owns a portion of the land on which Costco is proposed to be built, said he had turned down a number of offers for projects because he didn't think they were "suitable" for Yorktown.

"Costco is a great company," Leahy said. "It was the best use for the property that I could possibly think of."

Responding to comments made that Costco could put small business owners out of business, Leahy said he disagreed. He said he had been to other Costco stores in the area where the other businesses were "thriving."

"Costco is going to sell appliances," he said, speaking as a small business owner who also sells appliances. "If I thought I was going to be harmed, would I allow something like that to happen? No. You have to be competitive in this world."

The problem, Leahy said was that some people don't want any type of development no matter what it was. 

A group of anti-Costco residents spoke at a recent Yorktown town board meeting citing traffic nightmares, air pollution, local businesses going out of business and real estate values going down as some of the potential results the development might have on the town.

Phillip Grealy, a traffic engineer with John Collins engineering and a long-time Yorktown resident, said the traffic concerns haven't been accurately presented. Along with the road improvements Costco is expected to complete and a New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) project along Route 202, some of the traffic in the area would be improved, he said. 

The DOT will be making improvements to the intersection in the Route 35/Route 202/Bear Mountain Parkway area. The project, estimated to cost $7 million, will be completed whether or not the Costco project gets approved.

Costco in turn would spend $2.5 to $3 million on their own project by widening Route 202 in the area of Stoney Street, Chase Bank and BJs Wholesle Club. Grealy said the improvements would not only help with the anticipated traffic, but also alleviate some of the current problems. 

Some of the improvements include sidewalks, signal-timing improvements to traffic lights and adding turn lanes. 

"In essence what will happen is along that entire stretch you'll have a five-lane cross section: two lanes in each direction and turn lanes," Grealy said.

"Citizens for a Progressive Yorktown" group members said Costco would generate $5.2 million in state income tax, $3.9 million in county sales tax, as well as $613,290 to the Yorktown Central School District. In addition, group members said Costco would create 200 permanent and 350 temporary jobs. 

Yorktown Chamber of Commerce president Joseph Visconti said no members of the Chamber have told him they were opposed to Costco being built in town. 

The 151,092-square-foot Costco store is proposed to be located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Route 202 and the Taconic State Parkway in Yorktown. The property includes the site of an abandoned motel, which residents have described as an eye-sore. 

The Costco DEIS was accepted as complete by the Planning Board on Sept. 10. To read the document, click here

The public hearing will be held on Oct. 15 at the Nutrition Center room in the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center.

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For more articles (written by Patch staff) related to Costco click on the links below:

  • Costco Relocates Proposed Fueling Area in Site Plan
  • [Poll] Costco 'Cautiously Optimistic' to Open in 2013
  • Public Hearing for Costco Set for Oct. 15
  • No Decision on Costco's Sewer Line Creation Yet
  • Yorktown Smart Growth Distributes "True Costs of Costco" Information Kit
  • Residents Discuss Proposed Costco and Potential Environmental Impacts
  • We Asked Our Readers to Comment on Costco

For blog posts (written by local community members) click on the links below:

  • Costco: Not Right for Yorktown and Not a Done Deal
  • Costco: Gridlock Alert
  • It's Not About Costco
  • Costco: It's Not a Done Deal
  • What Will Costco do to Yorktown?
  • Costco Is Already Making a Difference.
  • Yorktown Chamber of Commerce Weighs in on Costco
  • The Costco Development Can Come Back to Bite Ya!
  • Development of the Route 202 "Economic Development Corridor" in Yorktown
  • Mom & Pop Culture Shop Costco
  • Yorktown About to Enter New Development Era 

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Bob Rohr October 03, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Yorktown is very large as Westchester Towns go. We are at the end of the NY metro area, but NYC is the engine that drives our economy and we have no Railroad Station. We have the Taconic Parkway . We are by no means a poor Town.We are a Town which grew in a haphazard way at first and is now maturing. We have almost no shopping. The Heights Hamlet cannot expand comercially, at this point the shopping area is surrounded by Homes. Front street could have become a Village shopping area expanding the Yorktown Commons theme, but that ship has sailed. The Rt 202 and Rt 6 corridors are our our best shot of a reasonable of attracting some revenue producing commercial development without effecting our residential neighborhoods and our truly rural open spaces. Costco is not Tiffany or Lord and Taylor, but it does send a message to Retailers that if you come to Yorktown with a acceptable plan, you will be listened to and be given serious consideration. Once you have opened that door, it is up to the Town leadership to set the bar very high on what that development would look like and how it would benefit the Town. The revenue from these two small strips within a 40 Sq mile space could help fund preserving open space. Life is always a tradeoff.
Evan Bray October 03, 2012 at 02:25 AM
It will. And it will have my last name attached to it. Unlike yourself, you p*&%y, Mr. Bill. My neighbor broke, and continues to violate existing, valid laws of Yorktown; it's not only a quality of life issue, but it puts my 3 daughters and wife at risk. I'm not going to convince you of that one way or another. Apparently from your anonymous perch, you think it's cool to violate Yorktown laws. Duly noted. I don't have time for your rabble rousing. And for the record, I'm just some insane lunatic on the Patch. How would anyone possibly believe anything I say. I think you give me too much credit.
Evan Bray October 03, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Oh, and just for good measure: Double Bird!
Bill October 03, 2012 at 02:30 AM
I don't know what you are talking about (as usual). I have not made any comments about your home/church situation. It doesn't sound good and I would not be happy if I were in that situation. But that is not what's being discussed here. And I don't really care much what you say on Patch. But if someone ever did a Google search on you, for your professional life, you know, you might not want them seeing the stuff you're posting here. Just sayin'.
Evan Bray October 03, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Bill, I appreciate your reasoned position and civil tone. I disagree with some of the things you write, but appreciate your sensible approach. I wish there were more stand up people like you engaged in this discussion. I'm a weaker man and succumb to the trolls all too often. Sadly though, I bet you're hoping the door doesn't hit me on the way out too. Keep up the good work, regardless. My only regret is that Ed Ciffone isn't a more active commenter. He is one person that has impressed me in meetings but is not too active online. Kind regards, Evan
Bill October 03, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Or it will tell retailers that you can waste 3 years trying to get approval, jump through all the hoops that the planning board tells you to and still walk away empty handed. Costco may not be Tiffany or L&T but it's the one store out of the three that I actually shop at and in its category it is the highest end of the bunch. And despite claims here that Yorktown has a high average income, it is still not as high as the towns around Mt. Kisco, and probably White Plains or Yonkers. And retailers know that it's not just the town they locate in that will have to support the chain.
Francis T McVetty October 03, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Bob, please NO MORE OPEN SPACES, we can't afford it!
Francis T McVetty October 03, 2012 at 08:19 PM
S.E. if you are moving into Yorktown. I do hope you picked a house in the Yorktown school district. It will be benefiting from the school taxes Costco will pay.
Francis T McVetty October 03, 2012 at 08:22 PM
You guys in the Lakeland school district have had it good for years, STOP complaining!!! Now I see where your objections are coming in part from. Eventually the more you write, the more you reveal.
Evan Bray October 03, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Those are crumbs, Francis. It's all public info in the DEIS, but something that people have not been made aware of. The chants of taxes, taxes, taxes obscured the fact that over half the town gets a goose egg. I like your reasoning though. "Suck it up, Lakeland. Just be happy with what you got" If I'm not mistaken, Yorktown Central is the more affluent of the two districts. You know those south-siders and their acre+ parcel homes.
eyesonyorktown October 03, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Costco is good for Yorktown, to all the NIMBY (MOVE) if you don’t like it. Who are you to tell a property owner what he or she can put on the land they own and pay taxes on. Mr. McVetty you are 100% right “NO MORE OPEN SPACES, we can't afford it!”
Jean-Francois de Laperouse October 04, 2012 at 02:00 PM
At the risk of sounding rude-- and there's already been too much rudeness by advocates on both sides of this issue--I would suggest that all of those making comments (including me) and all of those in a position to make a decision on this matter are way too old to be trusted. The retail landscape is changing at an accelerating rate thanks to the digital world. How to we stay ahead of the curve? Maybe this decision-- which will have lasting ramifications for Yorktown-- should be entrusted to our middle and high school students. It will be their generation's town soon enough.
Jim McKean October 04, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Brilliant. I have to say that's the best and most original comment I've read in any of these discussions about Costco. All across America (sadly, I have to be in the car a lot) you see these huge, derelict shopping centers and empty big box stores. Why? Well, you hit it on the head -- my sons use New Egg, Amazon, and so on. It seems like every time I talk to them there's a new place on the web to buy the kind of stuff you get at Costco -- without having to get in the car. Excellent idea!!! This would be a perfect subject for a Yorktown High School Civics Class -- hard to find anything more relevant.
Bob Rohr October 04, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Francis, we cannot afford to not have open spaces. It is good for the look and feel of the Town, and it saves you a lot of money in the long run.
Bill October 04, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I think Frank is talking about adding to the open space we have now and taking it off the tax rolls.
Bill October 04, 2012 at 04:43 PM
How many of those empty big box stores you pass are Costco's, not to mention in an area where they have no other store within 30 minutes? And how many of them are in areas where a market evaluation in the DEIS says that the area is under-served by MILLIONS of square feet of retail, with sales escaping (I believe that is the terms they used) to other areas because of the lack of retail? Other than one link to an article by a person so clueless that he was roundly shot down in comments on his site, I've seen no evidence (real or made up) that Costco is in danger of going out of business as a result of changing shopping trends. And I am really confused because all along we've been told that Costco only sells bulk stuff which we don't need to buy and now we're being told that Amazon and Newegg duplicate what is sold there. I am a customer off Newegg and I'd guess that they have less than 5% duplication with Costco. Amazon sells groceries, but in packages as large or larger than Costco, and it's a fairly small part of their business (and none of it is refrigerated or frozen stuff). And if you want to have a high school civics class (or even better, middle school) decide the future of the town retail based on their expert knowledge, good luck.
Yorktown Tattler October 04, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Is that jean francoise being serious when he says that the future of retail should be left to the younger set instead of us, but he's talking about the middle and high school kids!!!!! I do not know what this guy does for a living maybe he is a college prof or somthing but I am sure he's not a business man to suggest such a crazy idea.
Bill October 04, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Oh, BTW, if you ask the kids what they think, I'm fairly sure that they will overwhelming want Costco. My kids have always loved going there, you never know what you'll buy, not to mention the smoothies at the snack bar. Certainly more than they'd want locally owned stores that they'll never shop in and an office building. Oh yeah, and the chance of a reasonably well paying job (for a teen or young adult).
Bill October 04, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I have a better suggestion, let's get Amazon to build a 150,000 square foot warehouse, instead.
Adam M October 04, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Congratulations! Please take a look at www.progressiveyorktown.com and educate yourself on the many reasons why Costco is good for Yorktown. As long-time citizens of Yorktown, many of us would love to see the future of our town secured with the help of a prominent business like Costco.
Adam M October 04, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Great idea, Bill. I'm all for it :)
Jean-Francois de Laperouse October 06, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Mr. Rohr-- although I have misgivings about the Costco proposal, I appreciate the rational and gentlemanly tone of your comments. In the vein of "tradeoffs" couldn't the present generic, big box plan be adjusted to suit Yorktown and the wetlands on the site? This is not a crazy as it seems. On the web I came across a recent letter to Costco's CEO requesting that a number of green features be added to a store to be built in Maryland. Costco wants to be seen as green as so should Yorktown. There might be federal/state funding for green design initiatives. A green roof and efforts to reduce light pollution at night would be a start. http://www.anacostia.net/AWCAC/Downloads/2011AWCAC_Costco.pdf
Jean-Francois de Laperouse October 06, 2012 at 03:59 AM
I may not win any friends here on either side of the Costco issue but if the project goes ahead why don't we make it suit us more the awful, generic plan that's on the table. Doesn't Yorktown deserve something better? The entrance to our town on the Taconic Parkway should be beautiful and green. The building as currently designed will be a terrible eyesore. After all, Walmart is putting a green roof on one of its new stores store in Portland, Oregon that will look great, conserve energy and reduce polluted runoff to nearby wetlands: http://www.forbes.com/sites/eco-nomics/2012/09/04/portland-to-get-massive-green-roof-atop-a-walmart/ Also night time light pollution should be reduced by capping all of the lights around the building and in the parking lot.
Bill October 06, 2012 at 04:12 AM
I don't think there is anything wrong with getting them to build it as nice as is reasonably possible without adding significantly to the construction cost. But sadly, with the focus being on trying to stop it entirely from people who probably would have constructive suggestions like that, you're probably the first one to be discussing this (although there might have been some discussion from town employees after the initial DEIS was presented).
Francis T McVetty October 06, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Bill you are right. Rob, We have enough open spaces now. Looks and feel don't pay property taxes!!! We don't save money in the long run, we lose tax revenues!
Francis T McVetty October 06, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Evan, a first, I agree with you on that one!
Francis T McVetty October 06, 2012 at 02:21 PM
The entrance to our town is NOT at 202, it is at Underhill avenue exit off the Taconic State Parkway. Now as far as the green roof, Costco will build the building it can afford to build. If it is green then it will be green. You can make those suggestions, but i do think they are a little late to the party.,
Francis T McVetty October 06, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Bill R, "I'm normally not a violent person, but you tempt me." you don't have the stones!!! Why don't you try me first. It would be payback time for me, and I would enjoy the joust.
Rebecca Mitchell October 12, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Mr. Primavera, The key word is PAID!!! You are being paid tons of money by Breslin Realty to make it SEEM like the people of Yorktown should want to have this Costco. I don't want to have Costco in my town. Thanks!
Bill October 12, 2012 at 06:28 PM
The problem with your post Rebecca, is that you seem to think that the majority of Yorktown residents oppose Costco. I'm quite sure that is not the case. Sadly, a small group of loud opponents are trying to make it seem like everyone is opposed, when in reality, most people are thrilled at the prospect of Costco coming in. Many think it's already been approved, based on discussions I have had with people at work. It is unfortunate that we pro-Costco folks did not organize ourselves the way the "smart growth" people did. But that does not mean that there aren't plenty of us in favor of it. Bill (not Primavera)

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