LOOMIS, Calif. (KTXL) — Since 2018, the city of Rocklin and the town of Loomis have worked toward an agreement on a new Costco on the border of the two communities, on Thursday a deal was reached.

The location of the 155,000 square-foot Costco will be at Sierra College Boulevard and Brace Road.

With anticipated increased traffic levels along Sierra College Boulevard, Costco has agreed to pay the city of Rocklin $3.75 million to mitigate impacts along the roadway.

The tire center and 24-pump gas station planned to accompany the store have also been cut from the project.

A revised site plan will extend the northbound right-turn entry lane from Sierra College Boulevard.

“This collaborative agreement protects the interests of Rocklin businesses in the area while clearing obstacles for Costco, which will bring significant sales tax revenue to Loomis,” Rocklin Mayor Bill Halldin said. “Rocklin’s goal was always to ensure the Loomis Costco was designed properly and that the project paid its fair share to reduce traffic impacts along the Sierra College Blvd. corridor.”

Loomis is expected to collect $1 million in annual sales tax revenue from the new store, making Costco one of the largest sales tax revenue sources in the town’s history.

“The Town is gratified that this settlement will put the litigation over Costco to rest,” Loomis Town Manager Sean Rabé said. “It’s worth noting that the Town prevailed in the original lawsuit regarding the environmental impacts of the project. It’s unfortunate that, despite the judge’s original ruling in favor of the Town, the project has been tied up for nearly two years due to the use of the California Environmental Quality Act as a cudgel, instead of as a way to ensure proper mitigation. “Further,” Rabé continued, “Loomis proposed in 2019 the same payments to the Sierra College interchange as the settlement provides for. Nevertheless, this settlement paves the way for Costco to open in Loomis — and we are overwhelmingly excited to see the store open.”

History of this Project

Through much of the planning and approval steps of this project, Rocklin’s leadership voiced strong concerns and negative viewpoints on the store’s impact on their community.

“From a lay-person perspective, I think this store is going to make an absolute mess of the traffic along Sierra College Boulevard corridor,” former Rocklin City Manager Steven Rudolph said in October 2019.

During an October 2019 meeting amongst the leadership of both communities, the Rocklin City Council echoed the concerns of Rudolph in how this would impact one of the city’s major traffic corridors.

Council members Ken Broadway and Jill Gayaldo both voiced that while they support the economic boost for their neighboring community, the planning of this project must be done right before any ground was broken.

Gayaldo, whose husband was the former principal of Del Oro High School in Loomis, said that the smaller communities’ roadways will also be greatly impacted if drivers do not want to travel along Sierra College Boulevard, due to the traffic caused by Costco.

“What our concern is, which should be a mutual concern, is that we do this right,” Gayaldo said. “Because if we muck up Sierra College (Boulevard), don’t think that Horseshoe Bar Road will be a disaster. Because no one in Loomis will try to do Sierra College and they will all go down Horseshoe Bar Road.”

Over the next year, Loomis and Rocklin staff worked to find a way to address Rocklin’s concerns before the project was taken to the Loomis Town Council for final approval.

Tim Onderko, who served as Lommis’ mayor for much of 2019, said that dealing with Rocklin’s city staff was “frustrating” at times as the town worked for “hundreds of hours” to meet the mitigation needs of the city.

In a letter from the city of Rocklin in August 2020, the city said the Final Environmental Impact Report from Loomis seems to “ignore” their concerns.

“The FEIR (Final Environmental Impact Report) mostly ignores concerns formally expressed by Rocklin in July 2020 and after review of two previous versions of the EIR, released in June 2018 and December 2019, respectively,” the letter stated. “Rocklin and Loomis leaders have also met multiple times since 2018 to try to reach a consensus, but to no avail. Rocklin’s concerns focus on the glaring inadequacy of the analysis of traffic impacts of the project, as well as the unreasonableness of recommended mitigation measures to Rocklin streets and intersections.”

Rocklin also raised concerns about:

  • Flawed vehicle miles traveled (VMT) estimations
  • Lack of compliance with the Loomis General Plan policies for carbon monoxide modeling, land use amendments and parking
  • The FEIR does not meet California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements.
  • FEIR does not address the project’s impact to public safety

On Aug. 11, 2020 the Loomis Town Council unanimously approved the Costco project which then included:

  • A 155,000 square-foot retail area
  • 24-pump gas station with possible future expansion to 30 pumps
  • 781 parking spaces
  • Access to Sierra Meadows Apartment Complex
  • Potential future access on Granite Drive with Rocklin approval
  • Main signalized entrance from Sierra College Boulevard
  • Access to Brace Road would be right in/right-out only
  • Second Brace Road access would be for emergency vehicles only
  • Improvements to Sierra College Boulevard would include a new northbound right-turn lane and southbound left-turn lane; new northbound third travel lane; construction of sidewalks; Class 2 bike lanes; and new dedicated right-turn lane onto Brace Road.

The Town Council celebrated the positive impact this store would have on their community but also commented on the years of negotiations with the city of Rocklin.

“I do not believe Rocklin has negotiated in good faith for a lot of years,” Loomis Councilman Brian Baker said. “… They have basically stopped negotiating. They come in and say they are interested in Loomis succeeding, but if they were interested in us and what we have going on, they would have negotiated in good faith. Which they haven’t.”

In April the town underwent rezoning in the area of the project to allow for its construction as well as infrastructure improvements in order to address traffic mitigation needs.