First, let it be noted that Glendora, CA already has a Wal-Mart on Auto Center Drive. Now the company wants to place a Sam’s Club within spitting distance on Lone Hill Road, and a Home Depot wants in too, for a total of 475,000 s.f of retail space. That’s the size of nearly 11 football fields. Time out. The idea has local residents so unhappy that they chanted and shouted their way through a recent meeting of the Planning Commission. The din was so loud that the Commission had to take a break until police dispersed the crowd from City Hall, according to the LA Times. The 80 acres in question are partly owned by Kaiser Permanente and partly by Wells Fargo. The site was used to grow strawberries up until 1992, but is now only known as “the former strawberry field site”. As the meeting spilled over to 1 am, the Planning Commission voted 4-0 to accept the environmental impact review, which was prepared by the developer, and showed only the upside economics of the plan. The developer counted sales tax and captured leakage, but apparently said little about transferred sales from other businesses and the loss of jobs and revenues elsewhere in Glendora. The community recently lost Bock’s, a one-of-a-kind downtown variety store, which many in town consider a casualty of the Wal-Mart store. The study said some local businesses would see a loss in sales, “but not to the degree which would cause businesses to close.” Area residents pushed the Commission to save the open space for a park, noting that the community does not have adequate open space and recreational areas for residents. To confuse matters, several Commissioners and City Councilors may have conflicts of interest that cloud any vote that is ultimately taken by the Council on September 28th.
Resident Joe Ebiner was quoted in the LA Times as saying :”There are a number of good reasons why the property hasn’t been developed. A number of major negative impacts will result. Are we willing to sacrifice our quality of life for a few more tax dollars?” Joe: You may not even get a few more tax dollars. If Glendora had insisted on an independent economic impact study, it might have shown that no community needs a Wal-Mart and a Sam’s Club across the street from each other. In terms of economic development, Glendora would do better with strawberry fields forever.