A decision has finally been reached in the debate over whether to allow Costco to expand its gas station and add more pumps -- and it appears Costco will get its way after all.
In October, the Planning Commission heard arguments from Costco representatives that increasing the gas station from 12 pumps to 20 would help decrease traffic in the parking lot and perimeter streets by lessening the wait time to fill up. Costco reps said more pumps would lead to to fewer cars queueing up in line and snaking through the parking lot, blocking parking spaces.
However, after listening to a long list of residents complaining about traffic jams and congestion and worrying that the expansion would only lead to increased traffic as more customers decide to utilize the gas station, the Planning Commission voted to downgrade the expansion and allow only four new pumps, for a total of 16.
That decision led to two appeals being filed -- one by Costco representatives who still wanted to argue for their 20 pumps, and another by Andy Saberi, owner of the local independent gas station Gas & Shop at 895 Woodside Road. Saberi and his attorney argued that allowing Costco to expand its pumps and continue to sell gas at a reduced rate was the equivalent of "sanctioning a monopoly," and directly hurting nearby gas stations such as his own.
At its meeting this week, the City Council heard the two appeals, and many were surprised the Council voted 4-3 in favor of approving Costco's original expansion request for eight new pumps, for a new total of 20. In the end, the four Council members in support implied they felt the additional pumps would not, in fact, exacerbate existing traffic woes, and that there was not enough hard evidence to suggest it would.
Councilmembers Ian Bain, Rosanne Foust and Barbara Pierce voted in favor of sticking to the downgraded approval of a 16-pump station, but were out-voted.