Costco and Lowe's are wary of their future neighbors, but Stanislaus County leaders say there is no need for "there goes the neighborhood" drama.
The big-box anchors of Northgate Village Shopping Center built to the very fringe of Modesto's northwest corner a few years ago. A strawberry patch destined for new stores is just next door — but outside the city limit, meaning developers theoretically could escape the city's higher standards.
"We're proud of our shopping center and we want this one to be of similar quality," said civil engineer Dave Romano, representing Northgate owners Dan Costa and John J. Johannson, at Tuesday's county Board of Supervisors meeting.
At issue are plans to convert the 8.7-acre strawberry patch and Christmas tree lot to 107,000 square feet of stores, offices and maybe a restaurant, northeast of Pelandale Avenue and Sisk Road between Costco and Highway 99.
The county's design and parking standards aren't as rigorous as Modesto's. Romano said Costco and Lowe's provided far more parking spaces than those shown on neighbors' plans. Supervisor Jeff Grover questioned whether the new stores' customers would use stalls at Costco, whose lot fills during peak shopping times.
But Kirk Ford, county planning director, said it's too early to know how many parking slots will be negotiated. Plans show a minimum to allow flexibility in attracting tenants, Ford said.
When a final blueprint comes in, Ford's staff will ask the city to make sure the project meets city standards, he said. The city has some leverage because Modesto is expected to supply the new development with water.
Supervisors were satisfied and voted unanimously to support the project.
Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2390.