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VANCOUVER, WA-Costco Wholesale Corp. on Monday appealed a decision by Clark County to reject a proposed new store in the gridlocked Salmon Creek area. A county hearings examiner will listen to the appeal, but a date for the event has not been determined.

Costco wants to build a 148,000-sf store on 18 acres fronting Northeast 139th Street. County planners denied the proposal in large part because the traffic it would generate would slow traffic to 18 mph at peak hours, which is four miles per hour slower than the county’s minimum acceptable speed. Costco disputes the figures, and estimates 60% fewer peak vehicle trips than the county is estimating.

Costco offered up $1 million in roadway improvements — including new turn lanes and signals at several key intersections — but county planners said it wouldn’t solve the problem. Regardless, until there is capacity, Costco believes it should be able to hold its place in line, and the appeal will do that, at least for a little while.

The want to hold its place in line stems from a proposal by Legacy Health Systems to build a 220-bed hospital in the Salmon Creek area. Legacy also must meet the same traffic requirements, but would probably generate fewer peak hour trips and, therefore, might not slow traffic too much. If that project is approved outright, Costco would have to wait even longer for speeds in the area to improve before it could build — or spend a lot more than $1 million on traffic improvements.

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