Costco hopes to decide by the end of April whether it will build a new location in El Dorado Hills, El Dorado County said Thursday in a fact sheet on the proposed project.
The project’s intended location on Silva Valley Parkway, just north of Highway 50, has raised some questions among locals because it’s just 3 miles and a single freeway exit from Costco’s Folsom store, on Cavitt Drive off of East Bidwell.
The county fact sheet notes that the development of Folsom Ranch, which is expanding the city with 11,000 homes just south of Highway 50 along Scott Road, will create a surge of new demand. Even without that addition, the county’s fact sheet says that there are currently 40,000 Costco members in the target area near El Dorado Hills, according to the company.
The new store would employ between 200 and 250 people, about half of them full-time and the other half part-time, the fact sheet says. It would anchor the EDH 52 project, a 58-acre site at the Silva Valley Parkway interchange upon which the county plans to build a shopping center.
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The project would need to be approved by Costco, including President Walter Jelinek, who is visiting the site in late March or early April. If approved by Costco and then the county, the necessary permitting and construction period would put the earliest possible opening date sometime in 2022.
The warehouse store would be about 150,000 square feet and the location would include a gas station, according to the fact sheet.
Costco has been considering the El Dorado Hills location since at least early February, as reported by the Mountain Democrat, which prompted dozens of the publication’s readers to ask the same question on Facebook: Why not Placerville instead?
The county’s fact sheet gives additional reasoning for the intended location beyond Folsom Ranch, and also addresses a few other concerns raised by a new Costco potentially being built in the area, in an FAQ.
“Costco prefers to have easy freeway access where possible and Silva Valley Parkway interchange is the only A-rated interchange in the County,” the FAQ says. “Other options east of Silva Valley Parkway are not ideal due to issues from inadequate interchanges to handle traffic demand and a lower supporting population base.”
One location that may have served those traffic demands, the Cameron Park Drive/Highway 50 interchange, is in the midst of a $70 million improvement project that may take another decade or more to complete, El Dorado County says.
In a community Facebook group, several El Dorado Hills residents on Thursday commented that they were concerned by the project’s proximity to the Serrano neighborhood. The proposed site is located about a quarter-mile from Oak Meadow Elementary School.
The county acknowledges that its Department of Transportation would need to study traffic effects the store would have on Silva Valley Parkway and surrounding areas in an effort to minimize impact.
The FAQ says that the new Costco would not open until 10 a.m. on weekdays, eliminating much of the impact on morning commuters.