One Lowe’s in a community is often one more than enough. A proposed Lowe’s home improvement superstore got clear cut early this month, when the company tried to convince residents in Roseville, California, which is outside of Sacramento, that the retailer is a good corporate citizen. According to first hand reports, and the Press Tribune newspaper, the Lowe’s presentation generated more heat than light. Lowe’s already has one store in Roseville, and residents complain that it is not well maintained. At the public meeting, many Stoneridge residents raised their concerns about community impacts. According to the Press Tribune, “A public forum designed to calm matters was marked by derisive comments, shout-downs and open aminus between residents and representatives from the nation’s second-largest home improvement chain.” The proposal calls for construction of a 168,000 s.f. store on 17 acres of land, near a residential area known as Stoneridge. But the community is feeling saturated with home improvement stores already. In addition to the existing Lowe’s, there are also two Home Depots within four miles of the site. One homeowner, who lives one block from a Home Depot, described what life was like with the retail giant as a neighbor: “We had the lovely forklifts, and moving merchandise between 10 (p.m.) and 6 a.m. Truckers would show up and leave their engines running because it was cold at night. When they unlatched their loads, we’d hear chains. They also had their radios on.” Lowe’s tried the standard pick up line that developers always use, saying this Lowe’s would be “quite a departure” from other versions, with “a neighborhood-friendly design,” and buffering of sound and visual impacts. Lowe’s said they would cover the loading docks will be covered to mitigate noise. “Lowe’s is committed to being a good neighbor and good corporate citizen. We’re not here to say we’re not going to impact the community. Of course we are. (But) this property is zoned commercial.” Residents asked Lowe’s for a copy of their evacuation plan. The project is near a senior citizen’s complex, and a local hospital. There have been several serious fires at large home improvement stores, including Lowe’s and Home Depot. Both stores are a major repository of hazardous flammable materials.
Opponents of the second Lowe’s in Roseville have organized a group called “Stoneridge Against Lowe’s” and created a website, and begun the work necessary to further research and oppose this project. For further information, contact the group at: [email protected] For earlier stories about this retailer, search this database by “Lowe’s”. For a copy of research regarding major fires at home improvement stores, contact [email protected]