Costco could be in BR by 2014

Photo provided by CHARLES BREARDCostco is proposing a 144,807-square-foot warehouse and 3,840-square-foot service station at the former Coca-Cola plant west of Airline Highway and south of Interstate12 in Baton Rouge.
Photo provided by CHARLES BREARDCostco is proposing a 144,807-square-foot warehouse and 3,840-square-foot service station at the former Coca-Cola plant west of Airline Highway and south of Interstate12 in Baton Rouge.

Wholesale store to locate at old Coca-Cola bottling facility

Costco Wholesale received site plan approval and a sign waiver Tuesday night from the East Baton Rouge city-parish Planning Commission after company officials answered questions about proposed changes to Dawnadele Avenue.

The commission voted 7-0 for the plan, which involves realigning Dawnadele so it’s closer to the proposed 144,807-square-foot warehouse and gas station in the former Coca-Cola bottling facility southwest of Interstate 12 near Airline Highway.

The property has one-acre, three-acre and six-acre outparcels that will be approved and developed later, said Ted Johnson, development director for the Issaquah, Wash.-based food club warehouse chain.

Johnson said that while the 28-acre property is still under contract, Costco is hoping to open the store on a 15-acre plat there by the summer of 2014, pending the final sale and further design and engineering approvals from the city-parish and the state.

Johnson said Dawnadele, which runs alongside Airline, is currently not well-suited for retail use. He said plans call for new turn lanes for northbound and southbound traffic, allowing delivery trucks to get in and out of the site.

The sign waiver allows Costco to put four signs on its building that are properly scaled to the building’s three-acre footprint and height of more than 30 feet.

Commissioners W.T. Winfield and James Gilmore were not present at the meeting.

Other items discussed during the meeting included:

MALLARD TRAILS: The commission deferred for 60 days its consideration of Mallard Trails, 90 single-family residential lots on 57 acres zoned rural on the south side of Hoo Shoo Too Road, east of Wood Duck Drive.

Residents complained about heavy traffic on Hoo Shoo Too and that nearby homes already have water that backs up to their homes.

Hoo Shoo Too resident Fred Mathews said acres of land behind his house flood during rainstorms.

Commissioner John Price took issue with the fact that the board basically had to take developer George W. Robinson at his word that the development would not affect drainage because no drainage impact study has been conducted.

Attorney Pepper Allgood, who spoke out against the project, said only the Planning Commission — not the city-parish Department of Public Works — has the right to waive a drainage impact study. He also said Mallard Trails cannot use cluster development to increase the overall density of the project from one home per acre, just concentrate homes in specific clusters.

At the request of Commissioner Steven Perret, Robinson said he would conduct a drainage impact study that goes beyond what is required to help put commissioners’ minds at ease, though engineer Wayne Sledge of GWS Engineering said it will ultimately show there will be no impact.

PLANS APPROVED: Myrtle Bluff subdivision was approved over the objections of nearby residents about the traffic along Madeira Drive and Samoa Avenue because the 10-acre, 39-lot subdivision connects through three different streets.

Also approved were Lexington Estates, the Cottages at Southfork and LaFleur Oaks.

Three other planned unit developments were approved. LaFleur Oaks got concept plan approval, while The Cottages at Southfork and Lexington Estates got the final development plan approval.