Quality of life concern with COSTCO

Neighbors speak out at another public hearing

DAVENPORT, Iowa - The Davenport City Council held another public hearing on the rezoning of 17 acres of land on 53rd St. for used by the big box store COSTCO.

"There's just a lot to celebrate in our community," said Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch before the meeting opened up for public comment. "Let's keep focused on that as we moved forward not only with these deliberations but with our view on the future."

A lot of familiar faces stood up to voice opinions on the site plans. As the plan stands, the COSTCO would be located off of 53rd St, next to the fire station and the AT&T site. The 17 acre lot sits next to an apartment complex, and across the street from a residential neighborhood on Fairhaven.

Jerry Ludden and his wife have been some of the repeat speakers at the public hearings. They reside on the corner of Fairhaven and 53rd St. 

"We're concerned about extra noise pollution, light pollution," said Ludden. "We already get a lot of garbage thrown in our yard, it's only going to get worse."

He says he sees a lot of foot traffic already and can't imagine how it will increase. He and his wife are also very concerned with the fire station being able to move trucks with ease if there is a store entrance added. 

They say they can live with the extra noise and traffic if the only entrance to the store isn't placed on 53rd St. 

"We would be willing to live with that if we just take care of the traffic problem by moving entrances, like I said, around to Elmore Avenue."

The Luddens aren't the only ones. Jill Bjerke lives in Davenport, and has also served on the city's Plan and Zoning Commission. She says that everything about the site plan seems wrong. Her main issues are the residential neighborhoods, the added traffic with just one entrance and exit, and the water drainage. 

"I'm just very, very concerned that the amount of water that could be generated by the entire black top surface would be more than that pond could handle with a huge rain event," said Bjerke, referring to the 750 stall parking lot that will be in place for the store. 

Bjerke says there is a lot wrong with the site plan, but it's all fixable. She's just worried that city staff will go ahead with the plan like it is because they are afraid of losing the business.

"The way the site is right now, it's all wrong to me," said Bjerke. "My fear is that we're being backed into this corner, and that people are afraid that COSTCO is going to walk away if they don't get the site that they want. From my point of view, the yes on a bad plan is still a bad plan."

City staff are supportive of the plan, but also had their chance to ask questions. Many said they are taking a wary approach because they think that if they ignore the concerns, they will pop up as problems in the long run. They say they will be sure to cover all the bases before giving the plans the final stamp of approval.

"People sometimes have problems with change," said Sixth Ward Alderman Gene Meeker. Meeker took over Jeff Justin's seat until the November election, and the proposed COSTCO site is in his ward. "Once we adjust and everyone develops their own patterns, their own habits, their own time frames, things work out and I am sure it will this time too."

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