Home Depot’s plans to build a new store in the community of Sunland-Tujunga, California, got hammered by local residents, so the retailer has had to switch to Plan B, which involves renovating the interior of an old Kmart site. But Plan B is not going too well either, according to the following report from citizens on the frontline of the battle: “Home Depot thought that opening in the Los Angeles foothills community of
Sunland-Tujunga would be a simple process after they purchased the old
K-Mart site in Oct of 2004. After all, this town appeared to be an area in decline, with auto repair shops and 99 cent stores lining the one main street through town. It was nowhere near as affluent as the surrounding communities of La Crescenta and
La Canada, the exact communities Home Depot wanted to service. Home Depot, assuming that no one cared, chose to ignore the community review process and just try and open without consulting local residents. This proved to be a major blunder on Home Depots part, as the backlash was instant, and the outrage intense. As Home Depot soon found out, the area was in the early stages of a turnaround . Local activists had been working hard to make the community more family friendly , preserve the semi-rural nature of the area, and to attract businesses that actually served the needs of the local residents. Home Depot was ignoring a few other problems as well. The proposed site is surrounded on 3 sides by residential homes , including a senior citizen mobile home park, an elementary school was a block away, and the nearest freeway on ramp is over one mile away. This citizens mobilized , and Home Depot quickly abandoned their plans to replace the existing building with a larger one. A new building, without the blessings of the locals, would have submitted them to an environmental review process that they could not have passed. As of this writing , Home Depot’s new plans call for them to move into the existing building, but with major renovation to the structure. The citizens are still demanding the environmental review, and the whole issue is becoming a political hot potato for local council member Wendy Greuel, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.”
To follow the story, visit the almost daily updated website of the No Home
Depot Campaign at http://www.no2homedepot.com. You can also contact the campaign at [email protected] Or write them at Sunland-Tujunga Alliance, P.O. Box 123, Tujunga, Ca. 91043.