I had the privilege of preparing a traffic study for a proposed Costco in Burnsville, MN. The project received unanimous approval from the City Council last night and the Planning Commission last week. The Planning Commission ran a thorough public hearing that lasted about two hours. I was able to show a traffic simulation prepared in Trafficware's 3-D Viewer, which helped the commissioners visualize some of the improvements we were discussing. There was a good discussion about tweaks that could be made to the plan to alleviate some of the neighbors and commissioner's concerns.
What impressed me most about the Costco team was their collaborative attitude. From the beginning they stated they expect to provide safe and efficient access for their members at any proposed Costco. They emphasized their willingness to pay their fair share of any off-site mitigation measures, whether it be needed turn lanes or traffic signals.
The city proposed somewhat inconsistent conditions related to the needed traffic improvements. Costco's team sat down with city staff between the planning commission meeting and the city council meeting to negotiate a compromise that treated all of the improvements in a consistent manner. The punchline is that four conditions of approval coming out of the Planning Commission were reduced to two and the unanimous approval from the City Council took about fifteen minutes.
The whole development process has been a great example of collaborative, long term vision. I appreciate working with clients who understand safe/efficient access is good for their business.