On March 8, 2002, Sprawl-Busters brought you the story of Measure N in Mountain View, California. This was a ballot question to allow Home Depot to rezone land to build in that city. The final vote was a rout: The Yes votes for the Home Depot were 4,436 (35.4%), and the NO votes to stop them were 8,084 (64.6%). This is one of the largest margins of victory against Home Depot ever. Now the home improvement center is back to pester Mountain View, 4 years later, ignoring the strong voter sentiment against them. Ironically, the company already has two large stores within minutes of the proposed site. Home Depot plans to demolish the Sears building at the San Antonio Shopping Center, and will go before the city’s development review committee today at noon to present first draft plans after nearly six months of talks with city officials. Home Depot is proposing a 129,000-s.f. building. Sears’ lease with landowner runs out in February, ending a 50-year tenancy. When Home Depot first came to this city, they asked the city to rezone the former Emporium department store site on El Camino Real at Highway 85. Neighbors opposed the idea. Home Depot then gathered 4,500 voter signatures, which led to the city council putting the zoning change on a ballot. But city voters overwhelmingly defeated the proposed change at the ballot box. This time, the zoning on the Sears site suits big-box outlets, but the San Jose Mercury News reports local officials as saying the company’s plans will have to fit into the city’s San Antonio Precise Plan, which sets height and setback limits, landscaping needs and open space requirements. Home Depot can also expect an extensive environmental impact study that will look at car and truck traffic, noise and pollution. “It’s very early in the process,” a city planner told the newspaper. “We’ve received an application, and we’re in the early stages of reviewing the application. Major changes have to be approved by the city council.” Home Depot plans to contact surrounding neighborhoods about a month from now to review the project.
This location in Mountain View is midway between Home Depot stores in East Palo Alto and Sunnyvale. In East Palo Alto, Home Depot plans to increase their store to be the nation’s biggest Home Depot. That site is only six miles from the Mountain View location. After Sears announced that it was leaving the city, two city council members told the newspaper, “We really wanted something that would enhance the shopping center, not bring it down. They (Home Depot) need to do a much better design than Sears has and much better than a typical Home Depot.” For the earlier story of Home Depot’s defeat in Mountain View, search Newsflash by the name of the city.