By: Sharon Aron Baron
The Coral Springs planning and zoning board held a public meeting at the request of Costco who wants to build in the city, which attracted area residents who spoke out against the warehouse club store.
Representatives from Costco Wholesale, proposed for the northeast corner of Wiles Road and Coral Ridge Drive, appeared before the planning & zoning board on Monday evening for several items: A special exception for the easement encroachments for the property, a conditional use, and a sign variance.
The empty lot, situated on 17.2 acres, has sat undeveloped for years. Originally zoned for commercial, in 2004, the owners asked it to be changed to residential, however, in 2008, it was again changed back to commercial.
The Costco footprint would be 156,000 square feet including 662 parking spaces. Only club members would be able to use the gas station, which would have nine double-sided gas pumps.
Developers met with the residents of Kensington Green and Knightsbridge who set conditions for their approval. On the east side of the building that borders the Kensington Green community, a 14 foot green sound wall would need to be built. Residents also asked that employees park on the eastern side of the building and that trucks load and unload on the south side facing Wiles Road – away from the backs of their homes. The loading area would have extra landscaping to screen it from the street view.
Architectural guidelines also call for metal roll-down doors to obscure the shopping carts, and glass doors will be added at the store’s entry to be more aesthetically pleasing as well as to match big-box stores in the city. There will also be a pedestrian zone, landscaping in the parking islands which includes shade trees and palms and light poles with downward facing lighting.
Residents of Beachwood Heights located across street on Wiles Road were upset they weren’t consulted by the developers and many believed it would reduce their property values.
Richard Goldman, a 17-year-resident, suggested that a park should be built instead because of his concern about the amount of cars that would cut through the community to get to the store.
“It was a beautiful presentation, but they don’t live there,” he said. “We have a non-homeowners association. We’ve done our own study. Who’s going to pay for the approximately $1.3 million that it’s going to cost us to put up guard gates, guard-houses and employees of those guard gates, because of the fact of the spillover into our neighborhood which we see all the time.”
Wyndam Lakes resident Laura Bagg said, “We love Costco. We all shop at Costco, but it’s not the right place here. It’s a nice residential community for small-scale retail, little restaurants, gas stations. It just seems like there’s another better place than this.”
Planning and zoning board member Ian Schwartz said he didn’t believe that a Costco wasn’t going to reduce property values ten percent. He believed traffic would be bad, but not in the morning around 8 a.m. as it wouldn’t even be open at that time.
“The traffic is the only thing that bothers me,” he said. “As a city, it’s illegal to tell companies they can’t move in. As long as they go through proper channels, they can move in.”
Board Member Robert Dennis told those in the audience, “As a resident I do feel your concern, I’ve got to be objective and I have to look at the requirements of the special exceptions.”
He believed all issues were addressed to satisfactory degree.
The board voted to make a recommendation for the requirements. Next, it will go before the city commission on December 20, at 6:30 p.m. for approval.