LAKE STEVENS —At its Tuesday night meeting, the Lake Stevens City Council voted 6-0 to approve Costco’s development agreement.
That does not mean the company can build yet. Now, it must submit a construction plan and apply for building permits. The development agreement serves as a contract between Costco and the city.
On Tuesday, more than 100 people crowded into the Lake Stevens City Council chambers for the second time.
Every chair was filled and groups lined up against the walls, spilling into the hallway. It was a similar scene just a couple of weeks before, when the council first had a chance to vote on the wholesaler’s development agreement. As public comment stretched past 9 p.m., they decided to continue the discussion at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Costco hopes to build a 160,000-square-foot warehouse store with a 30-pump gas station and more than 800 parking spots, on about 37 acres at the southwest corner of Highway 9 and 20th Street Southeast. The area has been zoned for commercial development since 2012.
Costco talks started around 8 p.m., when Mayor John Spencer asked how many people in the room hoped to speak about the proposed store. Around 10 people raised their hands. Councilmember Marcus Tageant excused himself from that portion of the meeting and left the room.
He’s a real estate agent for Task Properties, and his name is on “for sale” signs near the Costco site. He cannot confirm or deny that he’s involved with the potential sale because of non-disclosure agreements, he has said.
Speakers were called to the podium one by one, instead of lining up near the front like last time. Comments were similar to the last meeting: Some are worried about traffic, others want the jobs and tax revenue the store could bring in, and more want Costco in the city but believe this is not the right location.
Floyd Ryan spoke first, and said he grew up on the proposed Costco property and now lives in Snohomish. He doesn’t believe it’s the right location for the store.
“To put a great big box store there is going to decimate the community,” he said.
He’s worried about traffic and the roundabout that’s expected to be built nearby, and that the store will put others out of business.
Lake Stevens resident Dan Myers spoke at the last council meetings in favor of Costco. On Tuesday, he asked the council to hold off on a vote until the new administration begins.
Councilmember Brett Gailey is leaving his seat to become the city’s mayor. Someone else will soon move into his current position.
“Costco has been the biggest political issue of the year,” Myers said. “No other council meeting has generated this much interest.”
At the last meeting, Costco talks were postponed. Public comment was kept open and the crowd was invited to send in written comment. More than half of the feedback has been positive, according to the city.
If the store is built, the company could hire about 300 employees with a minimum wage of $15.50 per hour, Costco representative Brian Whelan has said.
At the end of the discussion, the council asked questions. When they moved to allow the mayor to sign the agreement, most of the room clapped.
One woman said “shame on you guys,” to herself as she walked out of the room.
Costco has nearby stores in Smokey Point, Everett and Lynnwood.