City of Auburn fights Costco

“The battle over a big-box store in North Auburn may just be heating up as the city alludes to possible legal action on the horizon,” as the Auburn Journal is reporting.

“While the future of the proposed North Auburn Costco seems more certain than ever, Auburn’s city leaders are planning a private pow-wow to discuss how to stop the controversial project and others like it.

“Mayor Keith Nesbitt gave a nod to upcoming closed-session talks with City Attorney Michael Colantuono about the city’s legal footing in opposition of the Costco project.

“Though Nesbitt would not go into specifics on city strategy, he would say a proverbial game of chess was just beginning.

‘“The chess match hasn’t started yet,’ he said.

“Colantuono said the city’s lawsuit leverage lies in the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

“In a March 11 letter to Placer County’s legal counsel, Gerry Carden, Colantuono outlines city concerns over inadequate environmental impact reports (EIR) and “significant environmental, social, economic and other impacts …”

“’We continue to believe that the county violates the law,’ Colantuono said.

“Colantuono said the county counsel’s office did not respond to the letter.

“For Nesbitt, concerns fall to not only Costco and the impact it will have on smaller businesses in the area, but to the far-reaching impacts of other retailers following suit into the surrounding county lands.

“’Costco is not over yet, let’s just put it that way,’ the mayor said. ‘This isn’t just about Costco; it’s about all the stores that follow them around.'”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

7 thoughts on “City of Auburn fights Costco”

  1. Good for Auburn. I know Costco is supposed to be a good company with its workers but Auburn doesn’t need it. In fact, no town needs a Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, ect…. American towns and nation as a whole was better off before these behemoth’s took over Main St economics.

  2. The City of Auburn supports a Costco in the City Limits, however not in the County where they will lose sales taxes. At this point they are suing so they can be included in receiving a percentage these taxes to help pay infrastructure and etc. They did not sue the County when WalMart was approved so why Costco? The County will make money on the ground lease, increased property taxes, building fees, ongoing water and sewer fees, and retail sales taxes.

  3. If Costco spent money relocating or including the 60 year old youth theater and set up an endowment for it’s continued support I’d be a bit more amenable to the idea of Costco in Auburn. As it is Costco will spend a lot of money fighting to build it and the taxpayer (city) will spend a lot keeping it out. It never makes sense to me for a company to come in an trounce all over the community without investing in knowledge of the community beyond commerce then offering something in return.
    A Trader Joes would be better. Too bad it didn’t take the space now occupied by Michael’s.
    I have a lot of family in a small town in Arkansas so I saw what happened when Wal-Mart went in 25 years ago. Wal-Mart is the only the only shopping game in town for groceries and everything else. It knocked out down town with a single punch. Callahan Lumber is family owned and has survived but it won’t compete with Home Depot if it’s allowed to do business in town. The tax breaks given Wal-Mart means that the tax revenue is lower than when small business thrived in that community.
    Here’s another thought about big box takeover. It will not be humane in bad times. Small town America did a lot during the depression and up until the mid 1970’s. In that Arkansas town private business owners extended credit or forgave debt to each other and their customers when the banks were shut down or it looked like their neighbor would go under. As my uncle told me of those days most folks didn’t know there was a depression going on because they were too poor already and making due with resources as best they could. Business owners knew they survived if the poor survived too. That’s not true anymore as big box stores (and banks) come in and squeeze everyone. Wal-Mart is the worst. I never shop at Wal-Mart…even when I visit family in that small town in Arkansas.

  4. From what I heard Costco has set up a fund for the senior center to relocate to land that someone will donate to build a new center. The old theater has a lot of issues, not up to code in all aspects, roof, ADA, parking and etc. The building is functionally obsolete and the county will not upgrade it based on the amount of lease payments that are not enough for any improvements to be made.

  5. Some interesting points: “By investing in downtowns rather than dispersal, cities can boost jobs and local tax revenues while spending less on far-flung infrastructure and services. In Asheville, North Carolina, Public Interest Projects found that a six- story mixed-use building produced more than thirteen times the tax revenue and twelve times the jobs per acre of land than the Walmart on the edge of town. (Walmart retail tax based in national average for Walmart stores.) (Scott Keck, with data from Joe Minicozzi / Public Interest Projects)

    By paying attention to the relationship between land, distance, scale, and cash flow—in other words, by building more connected, complex places—the city regained its soul and its good health.”

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