Commission OKs Costco in Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is one step closer to getting its first Costco after it received the green light Tuesday night from the Planning Commission.

The commission unanimously approved a 154,113-square-foot store to be built alongside a four-story building with commercial use on the ground floor and 467 residential units on top floors just west of Bella Terra and east of the Union Pacific Railroad. The project must now go before the City Council for approval.

The Costco at 7601 Edinger Ave. would have an attached tire-installation center, a 16-pump gas station and outdoor food sales with an eating area.

The project is also slated to include about 30,000 square feet of mixed-use retail and restaurant usage and a five-level, 700-space parking garage between the apartments and Costco specifically for the apartment residents' use.

About 10 residents spoke during public comment, all but one in favor of the project. Huntington Beach resident and business owner Dave Weigel asked the commission to support the project and to avoid putting too many restrictions on the developer.

"Not only will the new Costco generate hundreds of badly needed new jobs and millions of dollars in sales and property taxes, but it will also provide goods and services to our local community that are currently only available … in Fountain Valley and Cypress, which are well over half hour away in traffic," he said.

Another resident brought up concerns about what the project would do on the already congested Beach Boulevard and Edinger Avenue.

"There seems to be an elephant in the room that only [commissioner Fred Speaker] has alluded to briefly — traffic, traffic, traffic," he told the commission. "It's going to be a mess."

The project would be built on the existing Montgomery Ward and Mervyn's buildings and adjacent retail space, which would be demolished.

The Costco would be open 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. The gas station is proposed to be open 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Costco is expected to open in the 2011 holiday season.

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