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Neighbors protest plans for Mooresville Costco

Cars fill the parking lot of a Costco store in Seattle.
Cars fill the parking lot of a Costco store in Seattle. AP

Because traffic is so bad, it can take Lynn Martin up to 10 minutes to turn left out of her subdivision on Talbert Road in Mooresville.

Imagine what will happen, she said, if a Costco is allowed to locate on Talbert as part of a 41-acre development that would include other, smaller retailers.

“I’m not anti-Costco,” Martin said Tuesday. “I’m not anti-growth. I don’t think anybody here is anti-Costco or anti-growth.”

A Costco-anchored development just doesn’t fit on a primarily residential road, Martin and other neighbors told the Observer. Talbert Road includes Martin’s subdivision, the Meadows at Reed Creek, as well as the Talbert Woods townhomes, Colonial Ridge apartments and the older Reed Creek subdivision.

“There are other places in this town that would suit that development,” Martin said.

The 155,500-square-foot Costco would be the major anchor of a development proposed to also include a 63,000-square-foot Academy Sports and six outparcels for restaurants and other retailers, according to the plans by Hammerford Development Co. of Toronto, Canada. The Costco also would include gas pumps.

The project’s rezoning request goes before the Mooresville Planning Board on Thursday night. The Mooresville Board of Commissioners, which has final say, has scheduled a public hearing and possible vote on the request for March 21.

A Costco spokeswoman said the company does not comment on specific locations.

Neighbors, however, are speaking out against the project.

Carolyn Underwood, who also lives in the Meadows at Reed Creek, started a petition drive against the project last week. Signatures have been collected from people in 102 of the subdivision’s 111 homes so far, she said.

Underwood, Karen Lehew and other residents said they’re concerned about the lack of proposed road improvements with the Costco. No sidewalks are in the plans either, they said.

Martin said that according to the most recent traffic counts available, 6,200 cars a day travel Talbert. And those counts were from before Exit 35 opened at nearby Brawley School Road in 2013. The exit has spilled even more traffic onto their road, residents said.

Two songs started and finished on her car radio and a third had begun before she could pull onto Talbert on Monday, Lehew said. “All I want to do is to be able to make a left turn,” she said.

“It’s hard enough right now” to turn left onto Talbert “without bringing in 2,500 people to Costco on a Saturday morning,” Underwood said.

Residents said they worry about safety with so many more vehicles. They worry about selling their homes with such a gigantic, traffic-inducing retail center close by.

“We really don’t want to make it about Costco,” Underwood said. “We want to make it about commercial zoning” in a primarily residential area. Smaller retailers would be fine, residents said, even a grocery store.

But a Costco in a 41-acre center?

“This is the worst of the worst,” Underwood said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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