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Posted on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Costco update: Pittsfield Township holding next public master plan meeting Thursday at Township Hall

By Paula Gardner

Pittsfield Township officials will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday to further discussion on the master plan updates, with the goal of finalizing proposed revisions by mid-March.

The process, called Pittsfield 2010, must be completed before the township will consider a request by wholesale club giant Costco to redevelop property northwest of South State and Ellsworth into a 145,000-square-foot store plus gas station.

The meeting will take place at Township Hall, 6201 W. Michigan Ave., with both the Board of Trustees and Planning Commission present, said Supervisor Mandy Grewal. The first joint meeting was in mid-December.

"This time we'll be drilling down a little more in specifics," Grewal said.

The master plan effort targets six "development nodes" in the township, which will house future commercial development, among other changes in the master plan, which outlines a "blueprint" for future development in the township.

costco site plan.jpg
The property under consideration for a Costco store sits within one of those districts and the proposal aligns with likely revisions, officials have said.

However, Grewal said, no rezoning will be approved before the entire document is completed.

The township is heading toward the final months of the process, she added. The next step is to compile the final proposed document, then make it available for a 60-day public review period before officials vote on it. She expects that to begin around mid-March.

"It's just been a slow, deliberate process," Grewal said.

She continued: "I've been quite pleased with the way it's coming along."

Costco proposed the store in late April 2010, years after it identified Washtenaw County for a new location. A site in Scio Township was denied, then the chain suspended expansion due to the economy before it found the Pittsfield Township location.

Costco's development team, she said, has been pursuing various steps needed to keep the store on track while the master plan revisions are in the works. That includes working out road improvement recommendations with the Washtenaw County Road Commission and Ann Arbor.

"The dialogues are continuing concurrently," Grewal said of Costco's proposal and the master plan effort. ".... They've got a substantial amount of background work completed."

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.



Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

Ann has been absent on their opinion of the Costco store. I do not remember one comment by the newspaper. Only the reporting of meeting after meeting and the cancellation of meetings. Looks like Pittsfield officials do not want the business even though the majority of the taxpayers are scraming for Costco to be built. Pittsfield - get it done or we may just get tired of waiting - elections will be coming - that you cannot delay.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 10:01 p.m.

The one year anniversary of the announcement is April. Is the "slow, deliberate process" yielding a higher quality result than a fast, deliberate process? What is the opportunity cost in lost tax revenue, area wages, and overall economic impact for each month extra in the slow, deliberate process? It's not a done deal until it is built and what is the risk that the delay leads Costco to decide against building (potential, unforeseen economic downturn - or frustration like last time)? Opportunities like this one are few and far between. The township officials should do everything possible to expedite the "closing of the deal." Additionally, it would also be nice for the writer to research the expected timeline of each step of the process, including building and opening the doors?


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

The next meeting is at 9 AM ? It is a public meeting but they schedule it so the public cannot attend. Now the plan is due mid March. It was to be right after year end. Let's see if this meeting gets postponed like most others. I am anxious to see the results of this major meeting. Get it done - build the Costco - get on with other town business.

Ron Granger

Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

I really want a nearby Costco.. Sam's is a joke in comparison. Especially the "low-brow" Ypsi Sam's. However, that is a terrible location. It is too close to the already overly congested I-94 interchange. It is too large of a facility to locate so near the interchange. In bad or busy weather, I-94 traffic backs up all the way up State street, all the way up S. Industrial, and on Eisenhower. The traffic is *already* a nightmare at times. For those of us trying to get to the other side of town (whether east-west, or north-south), the increased traffic burden on the nearby roads would be much too much. Specifically, State, Ellsworth, Platt, Stoneschool, Lohr, and Eisenhower. It would cost many millions to widen and improve those roads to support Costco. I just don't see how the tax benefits from the store will cover those costs. And even with road improvements, the ability to get around town would be forever negatively impacted. Further, the aesthetic of Costco stores is awful. Their huge, gaudy red and white signage. What an eyesore. They always want their gaudy stores to be seen. So fat chance that trees will block the ugly. This is York township, on the edge of Ann Arbor. They're going to cash-in on this, and Ann Arbor really has no say in the matter. We've seen before how easily York Township officials are influenced by large corporations. They really don't care about I-94 interchange congestion. But why not out near Michigan and State?


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

Why not just drive to Brighton if you don't want a Costco here? Statistics show Costco traffic is not a significant impact at any time of day.

Basic Bob

Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

"Especially the low-brow Ypsi Sam's." Nice value judgment, there. Sam's is in Pittsfield Township, you're not confusing it with Walmart or Big K? It looks like every other Sam's. "This is York township, on the edge of Ann Arbor." No, it's Pittsfield, right under the Pittsfield water tower. York Township is about 4 miles south. "But why not out near Michigan and State?" It's too close to Saline.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

Woops... I mean Shopping at Sams.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

It would be nice to have an alternative for those of us who are uncomfortable shipping at SAM's Club.

John B.

Fri, Feb 25, 2011 : 1:18 a.m.

Last I heard, Costco paid their employees (on average) roughly twice what Sam's Club does (did). For paying that living wage, they are rewarded with higher-productivity employees and can run a similarly-sized store with about half as many employees as SC requires. I am a member at the Brighton Costco store, although I don't shop there very often, actually.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

I agree. I won't shop at Walmart or Sam's... Costco at least does a good job taking care of their employees, but it's a pain to drive out to Brighton or Livonia for it.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

I have a hard time taking this seriously - virtually all of the "targeted development zones" are already heavily developed. Do they mean targeted redevelopment? Good luck with that, because nearly all of these are functioning businesses. I seriously doubt the owners of Tyner Furniture are going to be willing to give up their store to build artist's residences and work spaces, as the proposal suggests. More to the point, where is the proposed new zoning map? That's where the rubber hits the road and frankly, is the only thing that matters. Pretty pictures of nicely developed areas in other communities do not.


Wed, Feb 23, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

I hope this goes through soon... navigating the traffic circles on Lee Rd. is often more of an adventure than I would like.