A developer wants to take the old drive-in move site on Telephone Road in Ventura, California and turn it into a Home Depot. But, says the Ventura County Star, the proposal has caught the city between a rock and a big box. On the one hand, some Ventura officials think Home Depot means sales tax revenue (with no hard data to prove it), but on the other hand, the city just completed a “Vision” plan that says the land in question is a “gateway” to the city and should not have “auto dependent and franchise architecture”. A citizen’s group called the Ventura Council for Liveable Neighborhoods” has formed to fight the Home Depot plan. The developer has redrawn his big box plans four times, but is still having trouble selling the concept. “We’re not too crazy about the typical big box design,” the city’s Planning Manager told the County Star. Revenue starved California communities have battled each other over sales tax projects like this one, but Ventura Councilor Ray DiGuilio says “I’m not selling out the community to get another dollar in the till. The days of chasing sales taxes are over.” But a Councilor from nearby Simi Valley, said Home Depot would not go away, so “if you’ve got a mud hen, you try to make a swan.” Critics point out that there are too many “mud hens” in the yard already: Home Depot has a store in Oxnard that is only 5 miles from the Ventura site. Another “mud hen”, Lowe’s building supply, just announced that it,too, wants to locate in Ventura with a 163,000 s.f. mud hen. In fact, a Lowe’s spokesman said his company wants to open 100 new stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada over the next three years. Residents opposed to the so-called “Gateway Center” Home Depot project, hope it will soon be singing its swan song in Ventura.
For more details on the Home Depot “war” in Ventura, go to www.insidevc.com and search for Home Depot.