Home Depot kept gambling that the city of Reno, Nevada would turn a blind eye to its repeated code violations. But the bet didn’t pay off, as city officials began proceedings this week to shut the “home improvement” chain down. The Home Depot on Northtowne Lane has repeatedly ignored city conditions imposed to make the store less objectionable to its neighbors, such as limiting hours of operation, prohibiting outdoor storage of goods, restricting truck deliveries, and noise reduction. “They have been before us on several violations,” one City Councilor told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “They have promised on each occasion they would correct it, which they did. Then they reoccurred again.” Home Depot also sold part of its parking lot for a Starbucks Coffee shop — apparently without city approval — dropping parking spaces below the requirement of their special-use permit. Home Depot responded with its traditional,”We are going to work through everything to be in full compliance.” Chris Oberg, whose home is on a hill overlooking the store, says Home Depot has been violating city ordinances for 8 years. He says the outdoor stacks of fertilizer, insulation, sheetrock or plywood have made the site “a complete mess.” “Let’s draw a line in the sand to corporate America,” Oberg told the Gazette-Journal. “They cannot make promises to cities and then blatantly disregard their promises to the community.” The city issued Home Depot a citation for allowing its parking spaces to fall 75 below the level required by their permit. The Reno Planning Commission will make recommendations to the City Council on whether to revoke the special-use permit, which would force Home Depot to shut down. The City’s Attorney said no other major store has come so close to having its special-use permit revoked in her 27 years in office. This is the third time Home Depot has upped the ante on Reno officials. The city reprimanded the store for noisy street sweepers that kept neighbors up at night in 1998. In 2002, the Council threatened to revoke the special-use permit because of neighbor complaints regarding delivery times, hours of operation and outdoor storage.
What are the odds that Reno will actually draw that line in the sand, and shut Home Depot down? Sprawl-Busters has a file of code violations at Home Depots from many communities across the country. This is apparently a congenital problem at Home Depot. Many complaints about noise, outdoor storage, blockage of emergency lanes, go on for years unresolved. For a copy of such use permit violations, email [email protected]