MERIDIAN - It's been talked about and rumored for more than a year now: a Costco coming to Meridian.
Originally, the word was that it could go in at the proposed development Linder Village on the southeast corner of Linder Road and Chinden Boulevard. But that's no longer the case.
Developers are now hoping to build a Costco, along with other commercial and residential space, on the south west corner of Ten Mile Road and Chinden Boulevard.
All the developers of this site - Brighton Corporation, Costco and GFI (owned by the Gassers)- held a meeting in Meridian for people to learn more.
Developers are wanting to turn an expansive crop field into a mixed-use site with hundreds more homes, a Costco and other commercial buildings, with unknown tenants at this point in the process. More than half of the 65-acre property would consist of homes and apartments, while the remainder would be set aside for Costco and commercial use.
Tuesday's meeting was one of the first formal steps required by the city of Meridian before the developers can submit their joint applications for annexation, zoning and comprehensive plan amendments to the City of Meridian.
In a letter sent to Bainbridge residents last week, Brighton Corporation stated the proposal is as follows:
"To change the current Meridian Comprehensive Plan land-use designations from Medium Density Residential and mixed Use Community (MU-C- to Mixed Use Regional (MU-R); and to annex the Bainbridge North Residental property with zoning of R-15 Medium High-Density residential (32.2 acres); and the Costco/Gasser Commercial and Residential parcels with zoning of C-G, General Commercial (28.5 acres) and R-40 High Density Residential (5.7 acres), respectively."
Feelings are mixed about the potential development: many Meridian and west Treasure Valley residents are excited about the store coming to the area and providing a convenient option. But Wednesday's packed meeting got heated at times. Dozens of attendees argued against the proposed development, saying Costco would generate more traffic, congestion and noise. They say Chinden Boulevard, also known as U.S 20/26, can't handle the high volume of cars because the highway is reduced to only one lane in each direction for miles in this area.
Developers believe having the store there will cut out people's trips to Nampa and Boise, provide more convenience and reduce air pollution. Mike Wardle with the Brighton Corporation says it's a win for local residents because it creates a much shorter trip to Costco, while representatives with the major wholesale corporation in attendance said this location fits their business objectives and the shoppers they serve.
An engineering firm is currently conducting a required traffic study before the developers can submit their applications to the city.
"We don't have the answers yet. When that traffic impact study is done and the Idaho Transportation Department and [Ada County Highway District] have the opportunity to weigh in. they will look at system improvements, capacity improvements that they think are required to mitigate," Brighton Corporation's Mike Wardle told attendees, "We don't know what those are today."
Wardle says projects like this typically expedite the construction and road improvement processes for ACHD and ITD.
ACHD collects impact fees from projects, which the developers say will help pay for improvements, mitigation such as signals, and other work around access points.
"I think it's a huge negative for quality of life," nearby Meridian resident Roger Lee said. "The traffic is horrendous to begin with so it can't improve it and in fact what they don't understand is that it will act as a magnet so it will bring more traffic into the area."
Once they finish the pre-application process here within the next several weeks, developers will submit it to the City of Meridian. If approved, it will then go before the planning and zoning commission for a public hearing.
Developers anticipate the whole process - from application approval to building permits - will take about six months. They say their goal and their hope is to start construction on Costco early next year.
But most people who stood up and asked questions at Tuesday's meeting said they will fight it.
Meanwhile, Meridian city planners tell KTVB the developers of Linder Village submitted an application for development, and WinCo is listed as the main commercial tenant there.