Residents in Bellevue, Idaho received some good news this week, when representatives of Atlanta-based Home Depot pulled the plug on their plans to build a store in this small community. “At this point it’s a dead deal,” said a Home Depot real estate manager for the Northwest Division. Home Depot sent a letter to city officials on June 15th. Withdrawing their controversial proposal for the north end of Main Street. Last April, when word of the Home Depot plan spread through the city, the Bellevue City Council voted to impose an emergency 182-day building moratorium. “Based on recent actions,” the Home Depot letter said, “one being the currently imposed building moratorium, Home Depot is unable to proceed with its proposed development and is dropping the project.” The city’s existing zoning ordinance allows a maximum 72,000-square-foot building, containing two businesses, to be built in the Business zoning district. “It was obvious (Bellevue citizens) were really searching for what they wanted to be,” Home Depot admitted, “that is an indication it is something that was going to take time to figure out.” The moratorium imposed by the city caused Home Depots land options to expire. “Home Depot has elected to terminate its agreements with the two Bellevue property owners representing the project area for the proposed Home Depot,” the letter said. But the news got even better: “We are not looking at any further sites,” the retailer added. The slam-dunk of Home Depot’s plans will not affect the city’s efforts to come up with large-scale retail building design standards.
I always tell citizens that delay is a good thing when it comes to big box development. Time is on the citizen’s side. In this case, Home Depot’s land option expired, and they could see the city using the moratorium to put in place more restrictions that Home Depot would not like. So they are leaving town — and for many Bellevue residents — not a moment too soon.