Following several ‘Stakeholder’ meeting sessions with representatives of the property owner, and Costco, El Dorado County has released the following Fact Sheet regarding a proposed Costco location in El Dorado Hills.
The location selected by Costco is on the east side of Silva Valley Parkway, north of the Highway 50/Silva Valley Pkwy interchange- just north of Tong Road, and south of Oak Meadow Elementary School, and the proposed alignment of the future extension of Country Club Drive. The project is expected to be developed in conjunction with, and as a component of the proposed EDH 52 project. This property is already zoned for Commercial Regional (CR) and by rights, is zoned for big-box commercial development, which makes a proposed Costco facility a compatible land use for the zoning. In terms of mitigating traffic impacts, Commercial Regional is best suited along major highway interchanges, removing traffic impacts from interior roadways.
Costco representatives revealed that an El Dorado County location is desired to help relieve the current over impacted Folsom location. They shared that there are other California Costco locations within 3 miles of each other, as the current Folsom and proposed El Dorado Hills locations will be. As a membership store, Costco has direct knowledge of where their members are located – from the identified target area in El Dorado County around El Dorado Hills, excluding the existing Folsom Costco members, there are currently 40,000 Costco Members, so the customer base already exists.
Costco seeks to be near highway interchanges for their stores, and many locations in El Dorado County have been evaluated for a site. Out of all highway interchanges in El Dorado County, only Silva Valley Parkway has the necessary capacity for the addition of a Costco Facility, as it currently measures a Level of Service (LOS) A. It already has the necessary road and highway capacity to meet this use. Questions were asked about other El Dorado County locations, but representatives indicated that El Dorado Hills Blvd/Latrobe Road at HWY50, to Town Center West, or to the Business Park, is currently at too poor a LOS level (C, D, and E, depending upon the time of day), and with the existing and planned developments in the area are physically too constrained to add more capacity. Other County locations, including interchanges such as Missouri Flat Rd, are also too limited by poor LOS levels, and the inability to add additional capacity, as existing development prevents adding more road space. Interchanges such as Cambridge Road, Cameron Park Dr, and Ponderosa Rd also lack the capacity for additional traffic volume, and are facing challenges in terms of costs just to increase capacity to meet existing needs. The Cameron Park Dr at HWY 50 interchange, as an example, is facing a $70 million dollar improvement to meet current needs, and isn’t projected to be completed for 10 years, if funding can be found. Even with these proposed improvements, the interchange would still fall short of required capacity to adequately mitigate the impacts of a project of the scope of the proposed Costco Project. Since Silva Valley Pkwy is currently an A-Rated interchange, Coscto would be mitigating impacts from their project, and would not need to fund a complete overhaul of a highway interchange, which would be prohibitively costly.
Costco representatives indicated in the Stakeholder meetings that in the El Dorado Hills customer target area of their study, there are approximately 40,000 current Costco members. The El Dorado Hills location is supported by their internally defined demographic metrics – over 40,000 residents in El Dorado Hills, nearly 15,000 in Cameron Park, upwards of 5,000 in Shingle Springs, 2,500 in Rescue, and 11,000 new homes planned in the Folsom Ranch development south of HWY50 (over 20,000 new residents in the next 20-25 years) on the future White Rock Rd Capitol Southeast Connector, which will terminate at the Silva Valley Pkwy/HWY 50 interchange. Locations further east in El Dorado County, such as Placerville, with only 10,000 residents, lack the population to provide an adequate customer base to support developing a new Costco store location.
The next steps in the proposed project will be the President of Costco visiting the El Dorado Hills site later in March/early April. If the President of Costco makes the determination that the site fits their defined needs, along with the market demographics, they could decide as early as April 2019 to proceed with the project. If they do, it is expected to take 18 – 24 months to gain environmental approvals and permitting, along with a full Environmental Impact Report and the resultant traffic study. If the project gains these approvals, it is estimated that it would take another 12 months to begin and complete construction. As the approvals process and construction timeline would take at best a minimum of three years, the earliest possible opening date would be in 2022.
If the project proceeds, El Dorado Hills Area Planning Advisory Committee members will be studying the project over the next several years, evaluating the Draft Environmental Impact Report when it is released, and making recommendations on the project, and any proposed mitigation. Representatives from Costco have already proposed keeping close communication with EDH APAC, and have agreed to conduct public outreach via EDH APAC and other community agencies and organizations, to educate residents on their progress, and to get community feedback, to help improve the project. Costco representatives have indicated their willingness to present their project at EDH APAC meetings during the approvals process, and to foster and maintain an open dialog as the project proceeds.
A second Costco store was recently completed in Elk Grove CA. While the City of Elk Grove is a much more urban, and higher density area than anyplace in El Dorado County, some elements of that project involved its placement in proximity to both a highway and residential neighborhoods, and the steps required to mitigate those impacts. The project was proposed in 2015, and completed in September 2018.
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