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Supporters Answer Critics Of Yorktown Costco Plan

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Supporters of the Costco superstore proposed for 3200 Crompond Road are firing back at the spread of what they call misconceptions about the project.

The group, Citizens for a Progressive Yorktown, was formed this week in response to a wave of anti-Costco protesters who spoke at the Sept. 18 Yorktown Town Board meeting . The group responded to concerns that Costco would increase traffic, increase pollution and destroy local businesses.

“Before making this decision to allow this to happen I turned down a lot of offers,” said Rich Leahy, owner of the property at 3200 Crompond Road and of Atlantic Appliances. “Costco is going to sell appliances. If I thought I was going to be harmed, would I allow something like that to happen? You have to be competitive in this world.”

Yorktown Chamber of Commerce President Joe Visconti also threw his support behind the project and said competition can only help other businesses in town.

“The chamber’s mission is to promote business within the five hamlets of Yorktown, and that’s exactly what we intend to do,” Visconti said.

Phil Grealy, a traffic engineer and Yorktown resident, said traffic concerns are overblown and that the state Department of Transportation has entered into a public/private partnership with Costco to make improvements along Route 202.

Grealy said $7 million in improvements will be let by the DOT in December, and construction will begin next spring. The project will widen Route 202 between the Staples Plaza/Stoney Street intersection and the proposed Costco site.

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

Grealy said Costco will spend $2.5 to $3 million on the project, though he said the DOT's $7 million worth of improvements are not tied in to or contingent on approval of the Costco store.

Jim McKean, member of Yorktown Smart Growth and a vocal opponent of Costco, stationed himself outside the group’s inaugural meeting Friday. The meeting was closed to the public.

“I think there’s been a mistaken impression given when it comes to growth [that] there’s only one avenue for growth and that’s Costco,” said McKean, who would rather see a shopping center with smaller stores and office space. “Every organization I know of is in favor of growth, but controlled, sustainable growth.”

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed Costco at its meeting Monday, Oct. 15.

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