Planning commission discusses Costco appearance questions

Residents with questions about how the new Costco warehouse will look should attend Wednesday's planning commission meeting.

Rapid work on the city's part has prepared an 18-acre parcel next to Fuji Park to become the home of a 148,000-square-foot Costco warehouse and gas station.

Residents have been outspoken in the many city meetings held on the subject, but this is the meeting to attend with concerns over design and how the store will affect surrounding properties.

"This is the meeting that precisely addresses the design issues and mitigation measures associated with large commercial use," senior planner Juan Guzman said. "This is the right place to express your opinion about parking, road improvements, landscaping issues, the height of the building and just about everything else."

Costco is applying for a special use permit, which is required for any structure larger than 50,000 square feet. With a special use permit, city planners can set specific guidelines for the developer to follow.

Guzman said much of the recommendation forwarded to planning commissioners reflects testimony from more than a dozen city meetings.

When city planners first viewed Costco's plans for the site in January, Guzman said the design was well-suited for Carson City.

The outside of the 148,486-square-foot building will be basically box-shaped, but the entrance has elements of a ski lodge. It will sit on the east side of the property next to the Comstock RV Resort with a 766-space parking lot extending west. The gas station will be on the west end. The building also has brick trim and landscaping to help lessen the effects of wind coming from the west.

Carson City took ownership of Old Clear Creek Road from the state in January.

Commissioner Richard Wipfli said he welcomes public opinion on the issue. He said specific questions that came to his mind include traffic loads on Old Clear Creek Road and the future of the neighboring trailer park. He said he was interested to see the design of the building.

"After going to Home Depot the other day and seeing the cars leave Carson City, I thought, 'I wish we could have stores like that,'" Wipfli said. "I would love for all of them to be shopping in Carson, and many are going to Douglas County."

The plan has sped through several city committees since the beginning of December 1999. The land was added to the city's redevelopment district. The change of ownership over the land allows the city to negotiate with one entity rather than go through a public bid process.

City supervisors acting as members of the Redevelopment Authority will take the final steps to add about 18 acres to the redevelopment district.

Money from the sale of the land will return to the city to be spent at the supervisors' discretion. The land is estimated at $3.2 million. Escrow is expected to close on the land by the end of April.

The city estimates that a Costco warehouse would send about $1.24 million in sales taxes to the city's general fund each year.


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