Today's Bellingham Herald tells us:
"Retail giant Costco is envisioning a 161,893-square-foot store with a six-island gas station and about 800 parking spaces at a potential site along West Bakerview Road, near Interstate 5."
Think back to 2006 when the city put a moratorium on big box stores larger than 100,000 square feet. The issue at the time was Wal-Mart thinking about a larger store in Bellingham. I wrote an opinion piece for the Whatcom Independent that ended like this:
[Planning Commisioner David] Auer said, in part: "I do not consider this to be about Wal-Mart...What I do consider it to be about is what we want our city to be. In the Comprehensive Plan that we've adopted, we've stated that our goal is to have Urban Villages, neighborhood centers...We had to accommodate for a certain amount of population that is forecast to arrive in Bellingham by 2020...The fact of the matter is that we cannot afford the wasted land supply that single story malls or box stores represent... We do not want Meridian Mall-Sprawl to continue. It's time for us to actually stop here and not simply consider the minor alternatives but to actually take a good hard look at what we want to do with the Urban Village... If we don't do that then what we're going to essentially be doing is business as usual."
Auer is right. We're sleepwalking into the future, and it's time to wake up. Business as usual is no longer an option. It's time to put the Comprehensive Plan into action, and also work to increase local production and distribution of food, energy and goods. These actions will enable us to reduce our over-reliance on fossil fuels, and will strengthen our economy, our environment, and our culture.
What do you think about a new and much larger Costco on Bakerview Rd?