Citizens fighting Home Depot in El Cajon, California hammered the home improvement store this week. Opponents received the following email: “Dear Neighbors and Friends: In case you have not yet heard….LAFCO, the Local Agency Formation Commission, has voted to REJECT the Home Depot project on East Main. The vote was 5-3 this morning and this is a BIG VICTORY. So unless Home Depot files a lawsuit, the project is dead. They may very well file a suit but we will tackle that when and if it happens. For now, thanks to the dedication of so many residents in the area, we have won and have stopped the project for now. It proves that the voice of the people can be heard despite the flawed decisions by the El Cajon City Council.” The email was signed, “The No Home Depot Steering Committee.” The San Diego Tribune reported the anti-Home Depot vote “temporarily ends a years-long battle that has angered nearby residents and pitted jurisdictions against one another.” Temporary, because Home Depot, or the city, has the option to try to get by litigation, what it couldn’t get by regulation. “We’ll have to make a decision if we will challenge this decision,” the developer’s lawyer told the Tribune after the vote. The lawsuit could be filed by the city of El Cajon, but in such cases, Home Depot should pay the legal bills, because it is their project on the line — not the city’s. The city had voted to approve the annexation ovear the objections of its residents. To build their store, Home Depot needed the land in question annexed into the city. But the 8 member commission, which has representatives from the county, cities, special districts and the public, first had to find that the land was “substantially surrounded” by El Cajon, and whether the city could provide fire and police protection and other essential services. Staff for the commission’s recommended denying the city’s request, saying the Commission has the legal right to take into account local concerns — which were very visibly against the annexation. One commissioner noted that Home Depot would create “severe adverse impacts” to the surrounding neighborhoods. The county, the Lakeside Fire Protection District and East County planning groups also opposed annexation. The Tribune reported that residents “broke into applause” when the vote to kill annexation was made.
For earlier stories, search by “El Cajon.”