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Hundreds Gather for Costco Public Hearing

Due to the large crowd and the number of people who wanted to make comments, the public hearing was adjourned to Monday, Oct. 29.

It was standing room only as hundreds of residents attended the public hearing for the proposed Costco Wholesale Club on Monday at the Nutrition Center Room, located at the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center.

About 58 residents had signed up to speak at the meeting, which lasted more than three and a half hours. Some speakers exchanged back-and-forth dialogue with the public, others received laughter and applause. 

The proposal for a 151,092-square-foot retail store available to club members at 3200 Crompond Road, just west of the Taconic State Parkway, drew supporters and opponents of the development. Some people held up signs that read "Say 'Yes' to Costco," others wore pins showing their unfavorable position toward Costco.

The purpose of the hearing focused on the company's draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and gave the public a chance to comment or ask questions about the project. The applicant will respond to comments and questions raised in a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

Monday night people spoke about traffic, the impact on local businesses and the environment, taxes, jobs, emergency services and public transportation.

"We have an opportunity to bring jobs to Yorktown," Yorktown Chamber of Commerce President Joseph Visconti said. "[The company is] making a major multi-million investment in Yorktown. In this economy, we should welcome that."

Costco representatives said the store would generate approximately $910,803 annually in property taxes: $92,248 for Yorktown; $613,290 for the Yorktown Central School District; $92,657 for the county, $113,608 in property taxes for special districts.

An additional $22,140 would be generated annually to the county sewer district. The developer has proposed to create a sewer district and pay for the installation of lines and the connections to the homeowners on Old Crompond Road. 

Representatives also said Costco would create 200 permanent full time jobs and 350 temporary constructions jobs during the project on the 18.75-acre site.

Phillip Grealy, a traffic engineer and long-time Yorktown resident, said the Department of Transportation (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 complement the DOT and 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. 

"We're looking at taking care of a major bottleneck," he said. 

Vince Ferrandino, a planning consultant for the Costco project, said a market study has shown that area residents travel to other places to shop, which he described as "sales leakage" – money that could have been spent in town. He said bringing in Costco won't have a negative impact on other businesses – who already shop wholesale for their own businesses. 

"Competition is healthy," he said. "Everyone is entitled to compete."

Some residents said they believed Costco and BJ's Wholesale Club, just down the street from the proposed store, could not co-exist. Mohegan Lake resident Andrew Fisher said he thought either Costco or BJ's would go out of business in a few years and pointed out to the closed Circuit City and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Yorktown resident Jennie Sunshine, who is opposed to the project, questioned Costco's impact on traffic, police, fire and emergency services. She pointed out a letter written by Yorktown Police Chief Daniel McMahon who said he anticipated 106 calls of service annually at the Costco site.

"Will Yorktown have to hire additional police, fire and EMS personnel so residents could receive the same level of service?" she asked. 

Tim Miller, a traffic consultant who was speaking for about 20 residents, said he was concerned about the site not having enough parking. Ron Buehl, who was concerned about an increase of traffic, said he was a "fan of Costco," but didn't think it belongs in Yorktown.

Charles Monaco, who owns 100 acres of undeveloped Yorktown real estate off of Route 202, across from Parkside Corners and Grandma’s restaurant, said he thought Costco would be "beneficial" after having seen the prices at the New Rochelle Costco gas station, which were about 30 cents lower than the current prices in Yorktown.

Due to the large number of people who still had comments, planning board members adjourned the public hearing – having heard about half of the residents who had signed up to speak that night.

The next public hearing will be held on Monday, Oct. 29. Once the planning board votes to close the public hearing, written comments will be accepted for 10 additional days.

Read more on the Costco topic on Patch by clicking here.

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Yorktown Tattler October 18, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Jo, may I ask on what research or study your findings are based? Are you relying on the sky is falling propaganda by the gas station owners who don't want to give anybody a break on gas prices?
Yorktown Tattler October 18, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Bob its good to see that there are citizens who don't have any agenda who just see the situation for what it is. This anti group is well financed and supported by the gas station cartel and we cant be drawn into that self serving agenda. good for you for your objective view.
Yorktown Tattler October 18, 2012 at 01:08 AM
that is the plan northcounty. the state cannot do it alone and it needs the cash input of private industry to get it done. I lived in town for 50 years and this is the first time anything major has been done to 202. Be happy for Costco coming or else it would be another 50 years before any thing is improved.
Yorktown Tattler October 18, 2012 at 01:09 AM
who says the DPW is going to do the ice and snow removal on private property? I don't get it.
Yorktown Tattler October 18, 2012 at 01:12 AM
yes, this in particular shows that Jennie Sunshine is basing her opposition only on an emotional level because she wants to keep the "rural" character (where does she come from , Fort Apache?) of the town. She is totally ignoring the deis study and just attacking on her feminine wiles about things.
Yorktown Tattler October 18, 2012 at 01:15 AM
mark, the indian point thing really turned an otherwise polite audience to one of ridicule toward Jennie Sunshine. It shows just how preposterous her arguments are. My girlfriend whose daughter knows her very well tells me that she's actually a professional actress and I think she should stick to make believe on the stage...most suited to her way of thinking and acting.
Yorktown Tattler October 18, 2012 at 01:23 AM
evan bray, I was in the audience and the pro costco people were actually quite polite. there were no shaking of fists and ridicule with the possible exception when you made your stand-up comedy routine that fell flat and when Jennie sunshine said that indian point would eventually explode and we wouldn't be able to escape because of the extra traffic because of costco. You and Jennie showed everybody, both pro and con that the "con" people are on the radical fringe. congrats for that. And next time, stay home to watch your beloved game rather than grace us with your presence. Aren't you the one who was supposed to have left town by this time? what's the matter, can't sell your home because costco is moving in? And thanks for warning all of us that we were breaking fire code laws by filling the room. Did you notice that the police chief and fire chief were also in that crowded room and they didn't seem too concerned. thanks for doing the equivalent of yelling fire.
Bob Rohr October 18, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Evan, I did see you there, we passed each other in the hallway. I only saw the traffic engineers presentation from the side door. The anti folks kept putting up more threads for some reason, I suspect they were distancing themselves from the critical comments. On one of those threads I warned that an "Us and Them" scenario would play out. I know enough about Yorktown politics to know i can become a contact sport. There are more pressing issues than Rt 202. You have that Holland club land sitting on a pretty lake. People should focus on the really nice things. 202 is a dump and with the road improvements, we can get more businesses. I am fairly certain without Costco, the State would not give that miserable road a second thought. RT 202 was originally placed there to connect the Taconic with the Bear Mountain Bridge by Robert Moses until the Bear Mountain Parkway was built. The Bear Mountain bridge was the only Hudson crossing between the GW and Duchess County. When the TZ Bridge was proposed, he lost interest in the Bear Mountain, so they lost interest in the Bear Mountain Parkway, so the project remained unfinished. We were stuck with the two lane blacktop service road.
Mark Prudenti October 18, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Evan, when someone starts taking about how Indian point is going to melt down and Costco traffic will be the death of all of us.... we start to question if they are worth continuing to listen to. I certainly don't remember any Pro-Coscto member shouting "Take your comprehensive plan and shove it!". Perhaps I missed that when you were speaking about Monday night football. By the way you stated in a previous article comment you were moving, any chance that is still happening?
Bill October 18, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Sammy already sued his partner trying to get out of the deal and lost in court. So now he's trying this approach. I'll bet he'll be the one to pay for the lawsuit (as Evan already mentioned he predicted would happen) by "common citizens" if the town board approves it. He must make a lot of money on his overpriced gas to be spending this much money fighting the sale of property that will make him a bundle of money. The funny thing is, I always thought that gas stations made a set amount per gallon, and the gas companies set the price. Since the companies will most likely lower the pump price to be competitive with Costco (as has happened elsewhere), and he will likely get the same profit per gallon, I don't see the big deal. People who care about low priced gas probably aren't buying from him today, anyway. BTW I do hope that everyone is boycotting his gas stations. Not that I ever buy gas there anyway since they are so expensive.
Bill October 18, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I think that Costco should agree to close the store in the event of an evacuation of Indian Point. That would resolve that issue. Of course, I won't be able to pick up my muffins on the way out of town, but I'll survive (I hope).
Evan Bray October 18, 2012 at 10:34 AM
You should of stopped me. I would have liked to shake your hand. Your a gentleman and I don't mind disagreeing with a gentleman.
Evan Bray October 18, 2012 at 11:25 AM
You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. They were so far over the legal occupancy of that space, it was very dangerous. Notice the FD chief didn't make a peep when I said that? All the standees in aisles and the corridor? Obstructions to egress. You are very acerbic. Until you step up to the mic and state your name, you'll just be an anonymous, cowardly troll. Keep shaking your fist and shouting down brave citizens who care to raise legitimate questions and engage in a civil discourse. Costco gets over an hour and everyone is respective. A mother with 10 questions doesn't get 5 mins without heckling. Keep telling yourself whatever it is that let's you sleep at night. Where I come from, that's disgraceful behavior. Especially for a septuagenarian, if that's even true. Must be easy to be a troll and not have to take any responsibility for your actions and comments.
Area Man October 18, 2012 at 11:31 AM
The price of gas has been mentioned several times in this discussion. These kinds of stores and our suburban lifestyle can only run if there is a good supply of reasonably priced fuel (by global measures it still is here in Westchester). There have been many studies that state that we have reached the peak of oil production on the planet. I think we are witnessing the last gasp of the happy motoring era. Many would like to see a transition to a less fossil fuel based economy and others are trying there darnedest to continue business as usual.
Veronica October 18, 2012 at 12:51 PM
regarding businesses "going out of business"- that would be a good thing. If they do, it would mean that those businesses cannot compete with Costco because their prices and selection are better! i would love to never have to set foot in bjs ever again!! also with that kind of revenue to the school districts, how can you say no? isn't the future of our children the most important? lol
Bill October 18, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Evan, given that there were hundreds of people in the room and only 58 on the list to speak, I think it's entirely likely that the majority of the people in the room wanted to hear about the plan because they had not seen it presented previously. Maybe they wanted to hear the facts so they could make up their own minds. Allowing Costco time to present the entire plan and everything they would be doing for the town was entirely reasonable. Maybe some of the 780 Costco members in Yorktown (plus 180 business members, I believe they said) were there to cheer on a store that they go out of their way to shop at? .And that mother of two went on for longer than 5 minutes before the heckling (if that's what it was) began, although there were groans at the start when she announced that she had 10 questions. And if she had stopped before the completely preposterous part about Costco shoppers slowing the evacuation if Indian Point was melting down, it would not have been nearly as bad as you claim it was. At least she was (unintentionally) funny, unlike your rant about Monday Night Football. BTW how do you know that Yorktown Tattler wasn't one of the speakers? I personally had a speech prepared but because they were up to 58 on the list by the time i made it to the front of the room at the first break, I decided to just give it to the committee to read.
Bill October 18, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Also, Evan, if you felt so strongly about the safety in the room, why didn't you refuse to speak until something was done about it? You should have taken a stand!
Sami October 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
If a football game is more important than the future of the town, maybe you should just stay home and cheer for Denver!
Evan Bray October 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
You can lead a horse to water, but you can make him drink. Same applies to the town. You can point out egregious violations of the law, and they don't have to enforce them. It was a legitimate comment about how that place of assembly was being occupied way beyond the occupancy load it was designed and approved for. Maybe they should move it to the theater so that they aren't in violation of the law. Though, if people are standing in the aisles and exits, that's still not compliant. So, in summary, the Tattler has no concept of fire and life safety provisions. [Tattler shakes fist at computer].
Evan Bray October 18, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I'm sorry to hear you won't get to get up and enlighten us all on the issues at the next hearing, Bill [butter toasted rye bread, pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing] . You and the Tattler should do a duet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcwGAuWm3Lk
Evan Bray October 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I showed up early so I could speak and watch the game. This ridiculous proposal was so important that I missed the first half of MY team's MNF game. I'm not going to apologize for being a red-blooded, testosterone-fueled, football fanatic. I did rush a bit through my notes. Looking back, I should have mentioned a couple additional items that will come up at a later date, guaranteed. It would be a shame if something was missed in the application and the applicant suffered a procedural setback, wouldn't it?
eyesonyorktown October 18, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Evan, Thank you so much for pointing out my type-o. I guess this happens when you use a smart phone to post on this site. Just for the recorded the sentence should have read “If anyone was on the fence about Costco before the meeting on Monday night.” Again thank you.
Ted October 18, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I don't think we need a nuclear melt down to have carmaggedon. We already have a huge traffic problem on 202 without Costco. I'm very concerned that the traffic improvements discussed will not even alleviate our existing problem much less the problem that hundreds of out of town cars and 11 tractor trailers will cause. I feel for anyone having to make a left onto 202 from the northbound exit ramp of the Taconic. I feel for anyone having to head west under the Taconic on the weekend.
Evan Bray October 18, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Not buying it. That's not the kind of typographical error associated with a smartphone. Perhaps if it said "I anyone" or "I anything" or "If anyhoo" or just had some random garbled message as a result of autocorrect (the most common typos via smartphone), then maybe. But that's not the case. It really doesn't matter. Have to say, for you have very young grammar (e.g. when you use "!!!" and "lol") and are the only 76 year old I know that uses a smartphone to comment on the patch (or simply access the internet on a tiny screen for that matter). I'm beginning to think that perhaps we can't believe everything we read from anonymous commenters on the Patch. Chung chung!
Francis T McVetty October 20, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Are man " There have been many studies that state that we have reached the peak of oil production on the planet." can you post those sites? I really don't think so. We have more oil than refiners can refine.
Francis T McVetty October 20, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Ted, there is more than one way to go west on 202 from the TSP.
Bill October 22, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Does anyone recall which church had their picture on a flyer that they were complaining about that night (and the woman got there early enough to be the first speaker)? Whose flyer were they on, the pro- or anti-Costco people? I've never seen it.
Francis T McVetty October 23, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Bill, the church on the corner of 202 & 132. The 1St Presbyterian Church of Yorktown. I don't remember whether it was for or against Costco.
Francis T McVetty October 23, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I'm talking about the flyer, the representative from the church said they did NOT have an opinion on Costco. It was not their business.
Bill October 23, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Right.. I understand. Was just wondering why someone in another thread brought up a Methodist Church, since I was pretty sure that was not the one on the flyer, which the speaker complained about.

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