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Hearing set on proposed Costco gas station

Costco members pump gas outside a Costco Wholesale

Costco members pump gas outside a Costco Wholesale store in West Homestead, Pa. (Feb. 7, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

The Hempstead Town board held a public hearing this week about an application from Costco Wholesale Corp. for a permit to add a gasoline station to a store in Lawrence, which if approved would make it the first Costco on Long Island with a gas station.

The wholesale club is seeking a permit to install three 30,000-gallon storage tanks at the southwest corner of Rockaway Turnpike and Nassau Expressway. The company, which has seven clubs on Long Island, wants to put in 22 gas pumps that would be for club members only, said Daniel Baker, the attorney representing Costco.

Costco plans to take 163 of its 822 parking spaces to create the gas station, according to John Harter, the company's traffic expert. There could be 915 spaces if the club creates additional spots on undeveloped land owned by New York State. Costco has had a month-to-month lease with the state since its contract expired earlier this year.

Hempstead Town board members voiced concerns Tuesday about the company's lease with the state and questioned how it could affect its plan. Baker sought to reassure the board that a permanent deal would be worked out soon.

The board also asked about potential traffic flow increases and parking demand related to the proposed gas station. But Harter argued that the station would not change parking demand since Costco's studies show that regular customers at clubs with gas stations typically shop and also fill up on gas.

Costco could also need a parking variance from the town's board of appeals. The town requires 775 spots for a store its size, but Harter noted that during the store's peak month of July, the demand is only for 682 spaces.

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