With the final city approval expected today for the Costco project in Perrysburg, a city official said the company would not begin construction for a year.
The holdup appears to be because of the needed approval for rerouting an underground natural gas line which cuts diagonally across the 28-acre horse farm site near the southeast corner of State Rt. 25 and Eckel Junction Road.
Demolition of the buildings on the site is to occur in the next few months, but construction of the store won't occur for a year, said Brody Walters, city planning and zoning administrator. From what he was told by Costco representatives, he said, the delay stems from the pipeline owned by Columbia Gas Transmissions. He said he did not have details of the problem.
The store construction postponement is significant, as Costco told city officials in November that it wanted to have the store opened by this fall, in time for the Christmas shopping season.
After getting approval on Tuesday by the Perrysburg City Council for a needed special approval use permit, the project needs one more city approval. At 7 p.m. today, the Planning Commission is expected to decide on the final site plan to allow the 154,300-square foot store, a 16-pump gas station and two outlots which are expected to be a bank and a fast-food restaurant. Also, shown on the plan are 720 parking spots.
Costco had expected to get city approval on its needed special approval use permit and its site plan in December, but delayed city consideration of those items as it tried to work out an agreement with Columbia Gas Transmissions. The pipeline company said it would not allow Costco to put a parking lot over the 4-foot deep pipe because it would hinder monitoring the line for leaks and in making repairs. Costco said last month it had reached an agreement to reroute the pipeline along the edges of the parking lot, but Columbia Gas Transmissions said this week no such accord is in place.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would have to approve the rerouting. To move the pipeline, an application must be submitted to the federal agency for a "certificate of public convenience and necessity," said Tamara Young, a FERC spokesman. The agency's staff conducts an environmental review and then the commission decides, a process that typically takes a year to 18 months, she said.
The Costco project was given the council's approval on Tuesday in a 4-2 vote. But first there was a 3-3 vote to approve it with some conditions, including adding another through lane on Eckel Junction at the main entrance to the store. Mayor Mike Olmstead cast the tiebreaker against the the proposed conditions.
Councilman Barry Van Hoozen voted for the seven conditions on the first vote, but when the proposal was rejected, he switch his vote to support the special approval use permit with no restrictions.
"I hesitated on my first yes (for the special approval use) because I wasn't sure whether or not it is appropriate for City Council to add conditions to it," Mr. Van Hoozen said. "I like the conditions and think they improve the project."
Besides the added road lane, the proposed conditions included requiring deceleration lanes at the site’s right-turn entrances; new signs identifying Callander Court at Eckel Junction as a dead-end street, and landscape buffering around the property’s perimeter. Mr. Van Hoozen said Costco had agreed to address the conditions, so he relented on imposing them in the subsequent vote.
Councilman Tim McCarthy original proposed another condition, one that would prohibit Costco for building on or selling the outlets. He received no support on that condition, so it was dropped before the vote occurred on the other proposed conditions.
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.