Home Depot has problems siting stores even in its home state of Georgia. This week the Alpharetta, GA City Council voted 5-1 to reject a Home Depot proposal to build a Home Expo and a Home Depot on Highway 400. Mayor Charles “Chuck” Martin was the only member of the Council who supported the plan. The land Home Depot wants is currently zoned O&I (office & industrial), and the Council voted to stick with its Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The Home Depot proposal totalled 230,000 s.f;, with the Expo store roughly 87,900 s.f. Attorneys for the property owner introduced a survey of Alpharetta residents which claimed that 60% of the residents favored the Home Expo project. Yet remarkably enough, when the actual public hearing took place on the proposal, only one Alpharetta resident spoke in favor of the project. One resident stood up for Home Depot! Home Depot’s real estate manager for the Expo project told local officials that the Expo store is less a retail store and more a design center. But according to local press reports, the negative vote came down to the fact that the City Council did not want to set a precedent that might cause other property owners to ask for retail rezoning of their properties. In nearby Roswell, GA, Home Depot recently opened up a store, and just in time. Last summer the City Council in Roswell adopted an ordinance to limit the size of big box stores to under 100,000 s.f. The limit was prompted by Target’s announced plans to open up a 176,000 superstore in a 300,000 s.f. shopping center. The North Roswell league of Homeowners fought the Target, and said the new cap on retail size would also reduce the need for wider highways and move pavement.
Support Home Towns, not Home Depot. And Mayor Martin: How come so many of your constituents told the real estate developer they wanted a Home Depot, but nobody showed up to help nail it shut? Maybe it was a flaw in the survey design?