The ICI Development Company of Santa Ana, CA wants to build a Home Depot as the anchore for a major facelift at the Harbor Center mall in Costa Mesa. As in much retail cosmetic surgery, local residents are not happy with the huge Home Depot planned for the site. So ICI has reportedly developed a detailed “mitigation plan” to make the neighborhood accept Home Depot. Here’s the package deal: 1) The Home Depot loading dock will be moved from 60 ft. away from the nearest homes, to 140 ft. 2) The loading dock will be fully enclosed. 3) Truck delivery hours will be restricted. 4) a berm will be built running the entire length of the rear side of the store to buffer the store’s noise. The berm will use walls 6 feet or higher, and built 20 feet apart with a sloped berm in the middle. 5) a photometric study will be commissioned to ensure that shopping center lighting does not spill over into the neighboring homes. 6) there will be 24 hour security guards on the property, and 7) the developer will install double pane windows and central air conditioning in the 10 homes that are immediately bordering the back of the project. Although the Costa Mesa City Council voted 4-1 to approved the Home Depot plan, including the modifications to nearby homes, many residents’ concerns have not been mitigated by the mitigation offerings. “I don’t think anyone would have any problem with your shopping center proposal,” said one resident, “if it didn’t include Home Depot.” Another resident added: “We don’t want Home Depot up against our back wall. We’re upset with the fact that between Home Depot, Lucky Supermarket and Marshalls, there are 65 trucks a day that are routed past our back wall. We are not against development of the shopping center. We are against the way it’s being developed. Home Depot, with its noise and lumberyard — is more industrial than commercial. Home Depot has promised as many as 200 new jobs at the Harbor Center, not counting those that will be lost at Crown Ace Hardware, or the Armstrong Garden Center, The Earl’s Plumbing, etc. The joke of the whole situation is that these homeowners are being asked to take another big hit on their property values all so Home Depot can shove in another “fill in” store in the area. It turns out that Home Depot already has a store in neighboring Santa Ana, close enough for the Harbor Center neigbhors to easily drive to. Believe it or not, the Santa Ana Home Depot is located…only three miles from the proposed new Home Depot! When asked by writer Steve Smith why Home Depot would want to locate a store so close to their existing Santa Ana facility, a representative of ICI muttered: “It could be that they want to protect their turf.”
So, perhaps Home Depot understands the concept of “protecting your turf”, which is just what the beleaguered homeowners near Harbor Center are trying to do by keeping Home Depot out. The prospect of Home Depot stores every three miles is preposterous. But, then again, Home Depot is trying to add 500 new stores over the next three years, so somebody got to take ’em. The homeowners, by the way, have reportedly joined together to file a lawsuit to stop the redevelopment of Harbor Center. They must not have been impressed with the offer of central air conditioning. Who’s going to want to buy a home near Harbor Center anyway?