Updated: Statement from Columbia Gas Transmissions was added.
Costco plans to relocate an underground natural-gas pipeline on the site of its proposed Perrysburg store to remove a big hurdle to the project proceeding.
The latest site plan given to the city by Costco shows the pipeline no longer cutting diagonally across the property near the southeast corner of State Rt. 25 and Eckel Junction Road, as it currently does. Instead, the pipeline heads east-west across the site and then north-south along the east side of the site, and no longer running under the parking lot.
City Council President John Kevern told The Blade that Costco will pay to have the pipeline relocated to go around the parking lot. The pipeline owner, Columbia Gas Transmissions, had objected to Costco's plan to put parking above the line.
The new pipeline path was shown this week to the City Council's planning and zoning committee. No action was taken by the committee. Council is scheduled to have a public hearing in about two weeks on Costco's needed special use permit for the store.
A Costco representative did not return a call seeking comment about the change in the plan.
Columbia Gas Transmissions did not return a call on Tuesday, but today issued a statement:
"Costco and Columbia Pipeline Group are continuing to work toward a negotiated agreement regarding the pipeline. Relocation is an option being discussed but it is premature to say that relocation is the final decision."
The latest submitted plan, plainly marked "preliminary," had no other big changes from the prior plan. It still shows a 154,000-square foot store and a Costco gas station off of State Rt. 25, with a right-turn in access off of the major road. There is also a right-turn in off of Eckel Junction as well as an entrance and exit farther to the east off of Eckel Junction. The latest plan shows 719 parking spots, about 20 fewer than the previous plan.
The pipeline had become a problem for Costco, which received city approval of its preliminary site plan in the fall. But as Costco neared meetings at which its final site plan could be approved by the city Planning Commission and a special use permit could be approved by the council in December, the national wholesale warehouse club postponed its requests for action.
Costco was told by the pipeline company that it could not have a parking lot over the 20-inch wide line that is 3.5 feet deep, said Brody Walters, city planning and zoning administrator. The pipeline company wanted landscaping over the pipeline to be able to better monitor the line for leaks and to more easily maintain it, he said. The pipeline has a 50-foot wide easement at the surface and carries natural gas at 450 pounds per square inch.
The apparent solution is to reroute much of the line on the 28-acre site so that it skirts the parking lot but isn't under it. Brody Walters said having the parking lot over the gas line created an issue because the gas line company couldn't properly maintain the line.
Mr. Walters said on Tuesday that Costco hasn't submitted its final site plan, but he expects it to be submitted in the next few days.
City officials have scheduled a public hearing for the special use permit at 6 p.m. on March 13. The council's Planning and Zoning Committee is expected to again discuss the special use permit at its 5:30 p.m. March 20 meeting, and then Council is expected to vote on the permit at its 6:30 p.m. March 25 meeting.
The city's Planning Commission is expected to vote on the final site plan at its 7 p.m. March 27 meeting.
Council member Tim McCarthy, who is also on the planning and zoning committee, said he got his first look at the proposed Costco project this week.
"The traffic problem seems to be the biggest issue of all of it," he said.