On February 29th, the Englewood, New Jersey Planning Board voted to ban retail outlets from the industrial section of the city, in essence a DO NOT ENTER sign for a proposed Home Depot. As noted in the 1/26/00 Newsflash (below), the Home Depot project became a mediocre prospect for the city when compared to a ten story office building that another developer wanted to put on the same site. “Naturally, we are very disappointed,” said a Home Depot spokesman. “We have invested a lot of time and money in developing a plan. The fact that in the last 90 days there has been a complete 180 on this is really disappointing.” Local residents organized to fight the 133,000 square foot store, which would bring an estimated weekly increase of 34,000 cars to the area. The Council first voted to create a retail zone, and then turned 180 degrees to rescind their vote. The 10 story office building would bring in $1.2 million in tax revenues, compared to the $500,000 Home Depot said they would generate. The Planning Board has given Home Depot until March 31st to present a revised application, or ask for another continuance. If the deadline passes with no action, the application would be considered abandoned. Then, this week, the City Council voted unanimously to ban retail outlets in the industrial section of the city, in accordance with the Planning Board recommendations. The Council vote “derailed” Home Depot’s plans, but rumors are already circulating that Home Depot has its eyes on another piece of property in the city. But there will be no orange stripe on Nordhoff Place.
“In my ten years on the council,” said Englewood Councilor Michael Wildes, “this has been the most impassioned issue. This is something we did not take lightly. We hope the property will be developed, but developed properly.” The element that sent Home Depot packing in this city was what the newspapers called “a fierce and sustained eruption of public protest.” A group called the Concerned Citizens of Englewood “erupted” in December, and in a matter of three months, turned around the City Council and got them to do a “180” and rescind their vote to create a retail zone. Another Home Depot gets slam-dunked by “fierce” community opposition. For the Atlanta company, it was a bitter end to a year of lobbying to get into Englewood.