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2000-08-30
Visitacion Valley, CA. Home Depot Not A Good Fit

Residents in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood of San Francisco are hoping to prevent a visitation from a planned 108,000 s.f. Home Depot. According to a story in the 8/26 S.F. Chronicle, Valley residents feel like "a neglected corner" of San Francisco. "We're not NIMBYs out here," one anti Home Depot activist said. "We want development. But Home Depot is not a good fit. It's going to define our neighborhood forever." The proposal is being fought by the Visitacion Valley Planning Alliance, which has hired an Oakland firm to come up with an alternative plan for mixed use development on the 13 acre site. Residents prefer an "urban village" approach of smaller scale stores, trees, a library, etc. The area has been described as a 'catch basin for development", and Home Depot wants to locate on the site of the old Schlage Lock factory, which is a superfund toxic cleanup site. At a recent community meeting, 60% of the residents said they wanted the Home Depot scaled smaller, to 40,000 s.f., if it can't eliminated completely. Home Depot hired a former staffer to San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, and paid the lobbyist $330,000 over four years to lobby the Mayor on Home Depot's behalf. But at this Monday's Board of Supervisor's meeting, residents flexed a little political muscle of their own. Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano introduced a resolution that would change the parcel's zoning from industrial to low-scale commercial, which would force Home Depot to keep its store smaller than 50,000 s.f. Ammiano's amendment will not come before the full Board until October. Home Depot, in response to anger from the neighbors, added apartments and a grocery store to their plans, but the big box store remained at 108,000 s.f. Activists continue to push for no Home Depot, or a smaller version that fits into the "transit village" concept the neighbors would prefer. "We don't want this congolmerate splitting us up," said one resident. "We have been abandoned for too long."

What you can do: According to research reviewed by Sprawl-Busters, the ten square mile area around this site has 476,528 households, and a home improvement market of around $362 million per year, and could support a total of 1.4 million square feet of building supply stores. Using a 30 square mile radius from the site, however, the area is actually overstored withi existing building supply retailers, suggesting that Home Depot gains would come at the expense of existing merchants. Ironically, Home Depot has built stores around 40,000 s.f. in size, called Village Hardware stores. They still have that boxy feel, but are considerably smaller than the superstore. New Jersey and Texas are the testing grounds for the smaller stores, so it is not at all unreasonable that residents in Visitacion Valley want a village scale store. For contacts, email info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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