Costco a go

After a four-year search, Costco finally got its Carson City location on Thursday.

"Patience and perservance paid off," said Jack Frank, Costco vice president of real estate. "This is a really wonderful example of a collaborative effort. We're very pleased to be in Carson City."

In a 4-to-1 vote, Carson City supervisors on Thursday accepted a proposed development agreement between the city and the warehouse sales giant.

Mayor Ray Masayko voted against the proposal, not because he doesn't support bringing Costco to Carson City, but because he didn't support the use of redevelopment law used to make the deal legal.

"How could I get caught up in the rush of, 'We're this close so it's OK to abandon your moral principles?'" Masayko said. "I can't vote to end a blighted condition I never found in the first place. I have some difficulties with the process and the use of redevelopment law. It doesn't mean I don't believe that the land is being used for its highest and best use. I think Costco will be a benefit to the community."

The city has sped through public meetings since December, adding about 18 acres of city and U.S. Forest Service land to the city's redevelopment district, a move which allowed the city to deal solely with Costco rather than go through a public bid process for the land.

The move to put the land in the redevelopment district allowed the city to sell just over 16 acres of south Carson land for $5.25 a square foot to Costco. The $3.7 million sale price was approved by supervisors Thursday. Plans call for the construction of a 148,385-square-foot warehouse with about 720 parking spaces and a six-pump gas station on Clear Creek Road just north of Fuji Park.

The agreement calls for the city to put about $600,000 of the money from the sale into improvements widening Clear Creak Road, adding a stop light at the intersection of Clear Creek and Highway 395 and extending sewer and water to the site. The city will also pay up to $375,000 to grade the site.

Escrow on the property is expected to close no later than June 16, although Frank said he'd like to see the process accelerated. Construction will start as soon as the company can get its permits, he said. The store is expected to open in October.

Supervisors entered their special Thursday meeting with an appeal pending against Costco's special use permit. The last point of contention among the city, Costco and Gene and Judy Lepire, owners of Comstock Country RV Resort, regarded delivery hours.

The Lepires contended delivery trucks will cause excess noise and requested that the trucks come only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Costco tried to mitigate noise concerns by moving the building putting more than 100 feet of space between the RV park and the store as well as putting soundwalls around their delivery area and an eight-foot soundwall on the property line between Costco and the RV park.

No agreement was reached on the issue until the middle of the meeting.

"In the spirit of being a good neighbor," in Frank's words, Costco agreed to not receive deliveries between 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. as long as the property remains an RV park. The city will pay for $207,300 in improvements to the RV park and Clear Creek Road under the agreement reached with the Lepires.

The city has at least one loose end to tie up regarding the 2.8 acres of Forest Service property.

Deputy District Attorney Neil Rombardo said the city is having a hard time dealing with the Forest Service. The city plans to trade a forested parcel in the Sierra for the small, sagebrush-covered parcel near Highway 50.

However, Rombardo said, the Forest Service has asked for an easement across the Costco parcel, which would increase the value of the Forest Service land. He said the tactic bordered on extortion.

"We're trying to work this out using our best efforts," Rombardo said. "It's inappropriate that they ask for an easement across a development for a property they know will never be used."

Costco modified its plan so the 2.8 acres won't be needed for drainage and parking. The Forest Service is expected to issue a grading permit for the site sometime this week, but a permanent solution will take longer.

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