Even Councilwoman Karla Brown, who had raised concerns about using city funds for a private enterprise, voted to approve the agreement.
Of course, given the overwhelming vote for Costco last November when voters considered the initiative qualified for the ballot by opponents, this is the rare project that citizens have given a green light to before the council has even formally considered an application.
Councilwoman Kathy Narum summed it up well, saying, ““I just see this as a straightforward decision, particularly since I think the voters -- the residents, a majority of them -- have said, ‘We want Costco; what are you waiting for.
With the approval of the financing for the Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone, the development specific process moves ahead. With an estimated cost of about $21.5 million, the deal calls for Pleasanton to contribute $6.4 million from its traffic impact fund, while Costco will contribute $6.785 million to the improvements.
The membership store also will front another $6.785 million to round out the fund and will be repaid with 40 percent of the sales tax receipts. This is a new approach for Pleasanton, but has been routinely used across the state.
Costco is slated for the former Clorox Research Center site that has been cleared by the developer, Nearon. Nearon is negotiating with Costco for the sale of that 20-acre site.
Any other new uses in the zone—including the hotels and other retail, will contribute their share to the infrastructure fund that will be used to pay back the money fronted by Costco.
Mayor Jerry Thorne continued to recuse himself from the Costco discussion because a stock fund he owned contained shares of Costco. Once he realized he had the holding, he directed the fund manager to sell it and recused himself from the discussions of the economic zone.
The current schedule calls for the economic zone to reach final council approval this year after it is heard by the Planning Commission.
For Costco shoppers, tired of fighting traffic to get to Livermore or Danville, the Pleasanton store, with its planned 24 gas pumps, cannot come soon enough.