A portion of the site of the proposed Lake Stevens Costco at the intersection of Highway 9 (right) and South Lake Stevens Road (below, out of view). (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)

A portion of the site of the proposed Lake Stevens Costco at the intersection of Highway 9 (right) and South Lake Stevens Road (below, out of view). (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)

Purchase Photo

Comments welcome on the proposed Lake Stevens Costco

The company’s permit to fill wetlands is under review. Public comment is open until April 12.

LAKE STEVENS — There’s another chance to send in comments about the proposed Lake Stevens Costco.

The wholesaler has applied for a permit to fill wetlands and mitigate impact at the site along Highway 9.

Now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Ecology are holding a public comment period. People can send messages until April 12.

Those agencies are responsible for reviewing Costco’s request. The company is asking to fill 1.72 acres of wetlands for construction, that would also indirectly affect 2.24 acres of wetlands.

It also has proposed to make up for those impacts by creating more wetlands, improving off-site fish passage to Mosher Creek, and purchasing mitigation credits from the Snohomish Mitigation Bank.

“Wetlands are important because they provide habitat to many species, they help filter and improve water quality, and they absorb the flow of water and help prevent or reduce flooding,” wetland specialist Doug Gresham said in an email. He works for the state Department of Ecology.

“ … These are complex issues that we take very seriously, and we welcome comments as we set out to review this proposed project.”

The Department of Ecology will make a decision sometime after the comment period, but likely not before the summer, Gresham said.

Even without the permits, Costco can begin work on other parts of the site away from the wetlands, said Russ Wright, community development director for Lake Stevens.

It depends on what permits are issued by the city, such as land use permits, building site plans and construction plans. Costco has been working with the city and other agencies, such as the Tulalip Tribes, to refine those applications, Wright said.

He believes a decision could be made in a couple weeks on some of those applications, such as the land use permit.

Costco has proposed to build a warehouse store and gas station at 2404 South Lake Stevens Road, at the southwest corner of Highway 9 and 20th Street SE. The area has been zoned for commercial use since 2012.

Its plans include a 160,000-square-foot building with a 30-pump gas station and more than 800 parking spots. The development would take up about 37 acres.

The company first showed interest in building a Lake Stevens store about two years ago.

The Lake Stevens City Council approved the development agreement in December. Those meetings drew crowds of more than 100 to the council chambers.

Some have had concerns with traffic and environmental impacts. Others hope the company brings more jobs. If the store opens, about 300 people could be hired and make at least $15.50 per hour, company representatives have said.

If everything moves forward, work could begin in late spring or early summer, Wright said.

“It’s a big project, but it’s also really just a project,” he said. “The city goes through its normal steps of review. In this case, we just have more partner agencies we’re coordinating with than usual.”

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Send comments

To the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Email jordan.a.bunch@usace.army.mil; or mail to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, Attention: Jordan Bunch, P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, WA 98124.

To the Department of Ecology: Email ecyrefedpermits@ecy.wa.gov; or mail to Washington State Department of Ecology, Attention: Federal Permit Coordinator, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504.

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