City Council approves preliminary plan for new Costco location in west Omaha

The Omaha city council approved preliminary plans for a development in West Omaha that includes a new Costco.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 3:47 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - At its meeting Tuesday afternoon, the City Council unanimously approved the preliminary plans for a piece of property in west Omaha to become a new Costco location.

Neighbors near the proposed third store location, at 180th Street and West Maple Road, voiced concerns during public comment at a previous planning board meeting, citing traffic problems in the areas around existing Costco locations.

“It’s kind of a bummer, I mean, we didn’t purchase our house thinking we were going to live by some big business,” says Lori and Mike Domalakes, who moved into their home, directly across the street from the proposed Costco, back in July.

Renderings from the company have shown a potential layout of the property, which includes an exit from the Costco parking lot at 177th Ave. and Emmet streets, giving drivers a direct shot into the neighborhood — another concern voiced by residents in the area.

“Traffic is just really bad at Costco, I go to Costco on 120th and Dodge, and every time I feel like, ‘am I going to get into an accident?’ because traffic in and out is so bad, so to imagine that in your own backyard?” says neighbor Summer Elatta Sokolski on Tuesday.

Officials with Costco say a neighborhood entrance into Costco is required by the City of Omaha’s Master Plan for the sake of connectivity. Representatives also say the company is doing what it can to accommodate those who live nearby.

“Costco was very careful about having all the activity being in front of the store, between West Maple Road and the family homes to the south,” says Larry Jobin, Costco’s legal representative. “The parking area, parking field, everything is on the north side buffered by the building, the truck docks are all on the north side, and nothing really is on the backside at all, keeping it away from the neighborhood.”

Some council members drew connections to the existing Costco location at 126th and Dodge, citing that when it was being constructed, many neighbors in the area shared the same concern.

Councilmember Melton says the neighborhood road that connects with the Costco lot on Dodge never ended up causing problems for neighbors and customers.

“The connecting road at the last Costco did not have the negative impact that people thought, that’s the reason I’ll be supporting this,” she says.

Due to the host of traffic issues caused by Costco’s gas station on 126th and Dodge, developers say the new site’s fueling station would be on the northwest corner of the property, in the farthest possible spot from the neighborhood.

They also say it will be much larger than the other Omaha locations.

“Although it’s double the number of pumps and fuel stations, it has over 200 feet more of stacking, they also have one access in and one access out to provide for better circulation in the motor fuel station area,” Jobin says.

In agreeing to re-zone the property from agricultural to commercial, councilmembers also cited that the new store would help the city’s economy, offering additional jobs.

“The steps have been taken to address development and the concerns going along with it, and what we’ve learned in the past from Costco, and they’re a good partner again with the good jobs they’re bringing, but also wanting to get it right,” says Councilmember Begley.

“For the people that live out there, I know it’s a huge big center that’s going up, but again with what’s going on today I think it’ll be a great addition for Omaha and for people to use that and get economic benefits of shopping there,” he adds.

But neighbors are still frustrated.

“These people that made the decision, why don’t they come live next to it then, and we’ll see if they would’ve made the same decision,” Domalakes says.

Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report.