September 11, 2013
Costco Wholesale is coming to Albemarle County. After much debate, the shopping center will be built in the Shops at Stonefield development. In a 4-2 vote Wednesday night, Albemarle County Supervisors approved design plans to move forward.
"I'm a senior citizen on a fixed income and what we need in this county is competition and Costco is a great store," said longtime Albemarle County resident Betty Sevachko. Along with food and household items, the new Costco will also serve as a fuel station.
Most people in the crowd at the board meeting were in favor of bringing Costco to the county. The problem was the location.
"Even though I love, love, love Costco, I do not love Costco at Stonefield," said Claire Johnson. "I would love to see it up on Fifth Street Extended."
But in a letter sent to county officials in March, Costco management said take it or leave it. If the store couldn't build in Stonefield, Costco wasn't coming to Albemarle County.
After three hours of discussion, supervisors approved minor changes to design and development plans to allow construction to begin.
"This is an employer that would employ over 250 people and pay over $20 an hour, providing terrific benefits to employees," said Albemarle County Supervisor Dennis Rooker, who was vocal in his support for the plan. "It did not increase the intensity of the development at the site and I think it's a good addition to the county."
Supervisors Ken Boyd and Petie Craddock voted against the design changes. Boyd cited traffic concerns, and suggested the Fifth Street Extended location would be a better fit. Craddock referred to the store as a "big box store", not fitting in with the goal of keeping the Shops at Stonefield small and filled with more localized stores.
Stonefield developers say they are eager to move forward with design plans.