Costco Rendering

This rendering shows the entryway for a new Costco store in northeast Davenport, north of the intersection of Fairhaven Road and East 53rd Street. Area residents have expressed concerns about traffic and access to the proposed big box store.

Contributed art

Two down, one to go.

The realization of a Costco Wholesale location coming to northeast Davenport is two weeks away as the City Council unanimously approved the second consideration of an ordinance to rezone a prospective site Wednesday.

Costco plans to construct a 156,170-square-foot building and fuel station at the 17.88 site on East 53rd Street, north of Fairhaven Road.

The site is going through the rezoning process from A-1 agriculture and R-1 and R-2 low density residential to a Planned Development District.

The process has already yielded a recommendation for approval from the Plan and Zoning Commission. The City Council is now on the last of three considerations of an ordinance to move the development forward.

As was the case with the previous committee-of-the-whole and council meetings, nearby residents turned out to express their concerns.

Both Jerry Ludden and Dr. Jill Bjerke have spoken out against the project in the past and continued to do so on Wednesday for different reasons.

Speaking first, Ludden said that isn't against Costco, but rather the lack of planning for the impact on traffic while also addressing 6th Ward Alderman Gene Meeker's comments last week about people being afraid of change.

"None of us are afraid of change, but we are weary of change that isn't well thought out," Ludden said. "Our realization is that we are pretty much fine with Costco.

"I'm not wild about the site, but we would put up with the inconveniences that the site represents except for one thing. We've spent millions of dollars to complete Elmore Avenue out to Jersey Ridge, which is a beautiful wide road with left turn lanes installed, and we just feel that is where the entrances and exits to this Costco project should go."

Rather than repeat comments from previous meetings, Bjerke, a former Plan and Zoning Commissioner, spoke out about the site's detention pond.

At previous meetings, Bjerke raised concerns about the impact on traffic and the potential public safety hazard caused by the location.

Bjerke said that the parking plans submitted were for asphalt and not pervious concrete or any substance that would help passively drain water.

Citing her sister's experience living in western Chicago behind a creek similar to that of Duck Creek, Bjere warned of the issues that resulted from a new development.

"What has happened now is millions of dollars are being spent on a flood wall to mitigate damage and protect this property," Bjerke said. "As our climate changes so do our responses to it. I am not convinced this detention pond can address that."

In response to Bjerke's comments, Aldermen Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, and Jason Gordon, at large, said stormwater management had come so far and they were confident in the plans submitted.

Gordon also said proposals for traffic control were sufficient and long-term improvements would be made as a result of the federal Department of Transportation approving almost $8 million in grant funding for 53rd Street from Brady Street to Elmore Circle.

While members of the City Council expressed confidence in the vetting of Costco's plan, Bjerke has still not been convinced.

"I feel that Davenport is feeling squeezed to approve this plan or Costco will walk away and not consider another site," Bjerke said. "I want Costco here. A vote yes for a bad plan is still a bad plan."

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