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It's Not About Costco

It's really not. And Yorktown shouldn't have to settle.

. It heartens me to know that so many people care deeply about the future of Yorktown and just hope we can keep the discussion civil, constructive and focused.

It's not about Costco.

They are a fine corporate citizen and certainly have their place. I'm just not convinced it's on the subject parcel. It's a matter of sound planning. The Yorktown Comprehensive Plan (YCP) is a legal document that the town adopted in 2010. It outlines, very comprehensively, how Yorktown plans to ameliorate the vibrant and quaint assembly of five small business hamlets that comprise "Yorktown": Shrub Oak, Jefferson Valley, Mohegan Lake, Crompond and Yorktown Heights.

I encourage you to read the YCP. It's located here. It's a local law that is critically important to this discussion.

For example, in the "Economic Development" section of the YCP, one of the 11 stated goals is to "strive for tax and fiscal stability for Yorktown residents by continuing to seek out stable, low-impact, high-quality ratables." Propose something truly unique and high-quality, like a Fairway, and I'm going to overlook the terrible traffic impact and be it's most vocal supporter. It's not literally my backyard.

The YCP continues, "[a]n attractive commercial area not only contributes to community pride, but also helps attract customers. The hamlet business centers can be improved in terms of their overall attractiveness, the quality and mix of stores, and walkability."

When I read that, it's hard to convince me that adding a Costco across from a BJ's passes the smell test; no matter how hard the development team and certain Patch commenters try, I'm not buying that Costco is so "extraordinary" from BJ's.  Really? And don't get me started on the 5-50 cent (depending on who you talk to) savings on gas. 

To quote the 35th President of United States – who just so happens to have relatives who live in a town very close to our fine municipality – "a rising tide lifts all boats." We pay the highest property taxes in the nation and are not some podunk, back-water town in middle America on the verge of bankruptcy and somehow Costco is going to ride into town and save the day.

Let's aim for a little decorum and adhere to vision laid out in the YCP. 

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Yorktowner September 30, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Bill, I'm not "worried" about Costco, I'm worried about Yorktown. What Yorktown needs is what the taxpayers approved in the comprehensive plan--a viable and vital mix of chain and independent stores and restaurants in cohesive centralized commercial districts. Stand-alone big box stores--like Gap, Borders, Barnes and Nobles and other national chains that takes a huge amount of square footage-- are antithetical to the comprehensive plan. They are part of the failed non-planning of the '70' to '90's that have led to moribund strips of suburban blight like Rt. 202. As for what Yorktown Heights can support, I didn't actually say anything in my post about "high-end" vs. low-end. But, since you did, the median household income in 2009 for Yorktown Heights was $112,201, so local residents have a fair amount of spending power. Not to mention that YH is a shopping hub for the larger area, regularly bringing in customers from neighboring towns. I am quite sure that an appealing mix of commercial businesses (large and small, independent and chain) in an appealing setting in YH would thrive.
Bill September 30, 2012 at 03:57 PM
None of those stores you used as an example are big box stores, and none of them are (or were, in the sad case of Borders) stand-alone. And if you're claiming that the comprehensive plan would not have welcomed one of those to be part of the office/retail complex where Costco wants to go, then I've got an even bigger problem with it than I thought. As for your claim that Yorktown can support high-end retailers, reality has not shown that to be correct, given that none of them have come to downtown Yorktown or the JV mall. Turco's might be the most high end store we have in Yorktown.
Yorktowner September 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Bill All the stores I mention are Big Box. Barnes and Nobles is sited as an an example in the Wikipedia definition of Big Box. The local ones are/were not stand-alone, but there are many stand alone examples of those stores. The fact that Yorktown doesn't have high-end stores doesn't mean that it can't support them. Just as people go to Thyme and Peter Pratt's and other high-end restaurants in YH, a Whole Foods or other such store would have no problem drawing a steady stream of customers. This has become one of those pointless little tangential arguments that people get caught up in on these idiotic forums. How sad. I'll let you have the last word...
Bob Rohr October 01, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Bill, you underestimate your Town. Look incomes here, look at cars you see in the streets. We are far enough away from White Plains, and Danbury to make Yorktown a perfect place for high end retailers. First you have to make them understand you want them, and offer them a location which is fairly easy to reach. Route 6 and 202 fit the requirement. Those two corridors can be your mixed Commercial areas. The areas in between those two strips should remain residential and open space. Lord and Taylor now has a store in Yonkers along with a Chesecake Factory, Pandora, Apple, Stew Leanords and more to come. None of it on Central Ave. Yonkers is more desirable than Yorktown? I don't believe that for a second.
Bill October 01, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Ridge Hill is Yonkers in name (and bribes) only. And Costco was the first there, right across I-87. And I'm sure that many of the shoppers for L&T and the other upscale stores are coming from Scarsdale and other well-to-do neighborhoods nearby. Before Costco, there was a proposal for a high end shopping center at that location. It died, and at the time I didn't think it was appropriate for the area. I will get far more use from a Costco in that location than from an upscale mall. Look at what Simon is doing to the JV Mall. If they thought they could transform the mall into an upscale mall don't you think they'd do it, given that they do not own the Danbury Fair Mall and are losing lots of business to them? Let's get Costco in first and then if developers think there is a market for upscale they can put it with Lowes on the property further down 202 (now I'll really get the smart growth people angry).

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