Neighbors concerned about possible new Costco location in West Omaha
The plan to re-zone the property will then go before the planning board on September 7.
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Neighbors in West Omaha are expressing concerns about public safety after learning more about the possible new development across the street from their homes. It’s clear now that it could be Omaha’s second Costco location.
According to the City of Omaha planning board agenda, the property on the southeast corner of 180th and Maple is set to be re-zoned from agricultural use to mixed-use at the September 7 meeting.
On August 25, neighbors in the Andresen Meadows Estates received a letter in the mail notifying them of a public meeting to learn more about the proposed development just a few hundred feet from their homes.
Calli Hite is one of the many neighbors who attended the meeting Monday night.
“The meeting was hosted by Olsson and Costco,” she says. “They shared plans for the development behind us, their plans for building the biggest Costco in Omaha right next to the homes where we live, and where our kids ride their bikes and our families live and play.”
The drawings shown to neighbors at the meeting, and that were shared with 6 News, show a potential layout of the property, which includes an exit from the Costco parking lot at 178th and Emmet—a direct shot into the neighborhood.
They say it’s a major safety hazard for the families that live in the area.
“It’s genuinely from the heart of a concerned parent,” says Paige Zehnacker, who also lives in the neighborhood. “We’re really concerned about the safety of these kids, and what this would do to add this kind of volume traffic to a neighborhood that just quite frankly was not designed for that.”
“Imagine when you’re driving down Dodge Street on that frontage road and you see that crush of people trying to get in and out of the Costco on 120 and Dodge,” Hite adds. “Move that into your neighborhood and that is the driver of the safety concerns we have.”
Surrounding the intersection lies several schools, including Elkhorn North High School, Elkhorn Grandview Middle School, Manchester Elementary School, and Hillrise Elementary School.
“I mean we’ve got all these schools within less than a mile and so my biggest concern is the traffic that is going to generate and basically dump right into my neighborhood with all these kids around,” Zehnacker says.
Hite and Zehnacker say the meeting was merely a notification, rather than a space for them to share their concerns and ideas with the developers. They’re also concerned about the timeline of events. They were notified of the meeting on August 25, just four days before it happened.
The plan to re-zone the property will then go before the planning board on September 7. A public hearing will also be held that day, and neighbors like Hite and Zahnacker say they, and others, plan to attend as they still have many questions.
“Some of the neighbors asked questions about the traffic flows and counts and studies and about what that impact specifically would be,” Hite adds. “Unfortunately, there were two traffic engineers there, and they could not articulate what those expectations would be, they did not have a precise study on the current traffic flow and the anticipated traffic flow.”
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