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Local group wants city to table Costco development

Groups want outside experts to examine Costco plan
costco
Photo by JeepersMedia (Licensed under CC BY 2.0: https://bit.ly/3evxxOw)

 

A Boulder attorney said he represents a group of residents, neighbors and merchants concerned about the proposed Costco development in Longmont and its impact on small businesses, traffic and the local environment.

Randall Weiner said he has sent three letters to Longmont city officials outlining the worries of the group — Residents and Workers for a Safe Longmont — but has not heard any response. The most recent letter was dated Jan. 10 and sent to City Manager Harold Dominguez, among others, and it criticizes the rising cost of bringing Costco to Longmont.

Weiner states in his letter that a “patchwork financing scheme” to fund the affordable housing component of the Costco plan could be curtailed for other affordable housing projects in Longmont. The city council should hear from third-party bankers and lawyers on the validity of the plan, Weiner states.  

On Tuesday, Jan. 25, the city council approved — with little comment  — the new expenditures to cover the projected cost of the Costco project to over $15 million. The hike was from a projected cost of $12 million in November 2020. 

Officials said the project has become more expensive due largely to the rising price tags on construction materials as well as unforeseen expenses and labor shortages.

A city staff report states that the $12.8 million of the Costco project and the associated affordable housing project “would be essentially recovered in less than four years from sales taxes generated by the store.”

Costco will attract as many as 300 new jobs and $4.06 million in new sales tax in the store’s first year of operation, city officials say.

The Jan. 10 letter from Wiener states that the cost of “incentivizing Costco” has increased by $1 million to over $10 million.” 

“This amounts to over $115 for each resident of Longmont,” Wiener states. “Shockingly, Longmont’s ‘incentive Costco’ plan is not for a public amenity, but rather for a big-box employer in a City that already possesses a WalMart, Best Buy, Target and many local and national grocery stores.”

Wiener said the city should table the giving more funds to the Costco project until the city’s Planning and Development Services provide the final site plan to the public.

A Costco spokesman said the company's management had no comment. 

Longmont Mayor Joan Peck said Friday she wasn’t aware of Residents and Workers for Safe Longmont and their concerns. “I haven’t heard of them at all, and that’s unusual,” Peck said.

City spokesman Rigo Leal said Friday the city did receive the letters from Weiner but did not reply.

Weiner said the group has been around since September and is growing but he doesn’t know their exact number. He also said he has not been contacted by Longmont.

The group is also not yet seeking litigation. “We are still in the administrative stage,” Weiner said.

In his Jan. 10 letter to the city, Weiner states Costco has not proven to be a good environmental steward. The nonprofit Environment Colorado recently noted that the boreal forests are “disappear[ing] before our eyes in part because Costco uses boreal trees to make toilet paper,’ Weiner states.


 

 

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