YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A public hearing on a proposed Costco Wholesale Club brought out hundreds of Yorktown residents who engaged in hours of sometimes-contentious back-and-forth dialogue for and against the project.
Monday's hearing focused on the 2,200-page draft environmental impact statement of the 150,000-square-foot building proposed for 3200 Crompond Road.
Opponents say Costco would increase traffic, hurt local businesses and cause a number of other environmental concerns. Although Costco expects to bring in more than $900,000 in new tax revenue to the town and school district, many say the net gain would be lessened if Costco drove out competing business, including the nearby BJ’s Wholesale Club.
“I’m quite positive that within five years, either BJ’s will be out or Costco will be out,” said Mohegan Lake resident Andrew Fisher. "This area can’t sustain both. There’s plenty of evidence around that. Circuit City came in on Route 6, then Best Buy decided they needed to open up across the street. Boom, Circuit City is out. This is economic development in a big retail world.”
Supporters say competition could only help other businesses in town. Chamber of Commerce President Joe Visconti said all businesses in the chamber favor the Costco, including BJ’s.
“This company is going to be here for a long time,” Visconti said. “They’re not going to come to Yorktown and build a building that’s not going to work. They’re making a major multimillion-dollar investment in Yorktown, and quite frankly, in this economy, we should welcome that.”
Supporters also say traffic concerns are overblown and said the state Department of Transportation has entered into a public/private partnership with Costco to make nearly $10 million worth of improvements along Route 202. The improvements would include widening Route 202 to five lanes between Strang Boulevard and the Parkside Corner Shopping Center.
The hearing took place in the Nutrition Center Room at the Yorktown Community & Cultural Center at 1974 Commerce St. It was moved from the board's regular meeting space in Room 104 in anticipation of the large turnout.
The board decided to adjourn the hearing to a future meeting because of the high number of residents still with comments. Board members assured residents it will not close the hearing until all comments – written or verbal – have been heard.