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Residents vow to fight big-box store

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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Residents in neighborhoods adjoining North Auburn’s Costco development site are raising concerns about a big-box store so close. Jan Coleman of Canal Street said she sees Costco across Canal Street from a residential neighborhood as an incompatible use. Coleman said she’s particularly concerned about vehicle access off Luther Road onto Canal Street for Costco customers. “If you go around Auburn, where else do you find a major store where access goes through a residential neighborhood?” Coleman asked. Susan Tronti, past president of the neighborhood’s Fiddler’s Green Homeowners Association, said she’s not against growth but that she’s concerned about loading docks in the back of the store that would face the neighborhood creating noise and dirty air from trucks. Jim Conkey, developer of the Bohemia site Costco would build on, said his project conforms to both the county and North Auburn community plan as well as a more recent redevelopment plan. Not everyone will like the project, he said. Conkey’s efforts to try to answer concerns include agreeing to no delivery or Costco truck traffic on Canal Street, building an eight-foot-tall sound wall and installing a $300,000-plus traffic light at Luther Road. “I’m trying to be a good neighbor,” Conkey said. “And I’m not violating anything. I’m following all the policies on property that’s probably the most studied in Placer County and has already been developed once.” Nearby residents are girding for a fight similar to the bitter battle of the 1990s over Wal-Mart locating on the land. Richard McClellan, president of Mountain Shadows Homeowners Association, said the main dispute centers around Canal Street access – something the site does not now have. But residents – already hit by plummeting housing values – are also looking at a big-box store and not seeing a good fit. “Who would want to purchase a home next to a Costco?” McClellan asked, in one of the many letters the county has received questioning the project. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.