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Ukiah council to hear appeal of Costco approval

The Ukiah City Council on Wednesday night will consider an appeal of a Costco store proposed along Highway 101 southeast of town.

A permit for the controversial project was approved by the Ukiah Planning Commission in January.

In February, four Mendocino County residents filed an appeal, citing a litany of problems they want resolved before the project moves forward.

The appellants don't expect to stop the store from being built, said Ukiah resident Pinky Kushner. What they want are changes aimed primarily at preserving a nearby wetlands area, she said.

"We expect Costco to come. We understand a lot of people in town like to shop there. It may be very beneficial to the city," Kushner said. "What we'd like to see happen is the wetlands south of there be protected."

The proposed changes include reducing the number of gasoline station pumps and moving the pumps farther from the wetlands area. The appellants also are asking for better access for pedestrians, use of native plants, and lighting that has less effect on the night sky and wetlands wildlife.

The project has many proponents, many of them shoppers who currently frequent the Costco store in Santa Rosa.

They also include city officials, who for years have been trying to lure Costco to Ukiah.

The store is expected to generate nearly $500,000 in revenue annually for the city and create 175 to 200 jobs, half of them full-time positions.

But the proposed 148,000-square-foot store also has some drawbacks that require expensive mitigations before it can be opened.

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