Neighbors worry Costco expansion could cost rural community

LAKE STEVENS, Wash. – Costco is looking to expand with a new 170,000 square feet big-box store just inside the city limits of Lake Stevens.

It could bring jobs to a community exploding in population, but some neighbors worry that the price could mean losing what’s left of some rural neighborhoods – including a nearly 100-year-old neighborhood market.

“He’s been here for so long,” said Katlynn Fergeson while shopping at Turners Grocery. “It’s like the corner store.”

The store’s owner, Doug Turner, says the market has been in business since 1922. Turner has owned it for 30 years and worries he may not be able to stay afloat if a Costco opens up down the block.

“It’s not going to be a bedroom community very long if they keep this up,” said Turner.

Lake Stevens is growing by leaps and bounds and so is the rest of the county, officials expect 200,000 more people to move into the area by 2035. So, it’s no wonder Costco wants to build a big-box store along SR 9 and 20th Street.

But that worries some neighbors who prefer shopping at the mom-and-pop.

“Within 20 miles of this location there are six Costco’s,” said David Clay. “It’s a matter revenue for the city of Lake Stevens, for us it’s a matter of quality of life.”

“It won’t be the same,” said Turner.

Some neighbors worry the site doesn’t address environmental issues or noise pollution.

Others mention the traffic heading to the 800 parking spaces or fueling up at one of the 30-planned Costco gas pumps.

“It doesn’t make sense to put it in there,” said Clay. “We’re not against Costco but this location doesn’t work for us.”

Turner Grocery has served customers for nearly a century but if Costco moves in down the block, Tuner worries if his slice of rural living doesn’t survive the growth it may never come back.

“Rural and comfortable and I think that will go away if Costco comes in half a mile away,” said Turner.

The city of Lake Stevens says the project is nowhere near a done deal as it still has to go through a public hearing process.

If approved the city says Costco could break ground in 2020 and possibly open by the fall of 2021.