The City of Thousand Oaks is holding a special meeting on March 31, 2009 at 6pm to hold a public hearing on an appeal of the Planning Commissions’s decision to approve Home Depot’s development permit.

The permit, which was approved by the planning commission on January 26th, is to allow demolition of the 121,360 sq ft. former K-Mart and in-line stores, and to replace it with 96,973 sq. ft. Home Depot with attached 13,669 sq. ft. Outdoor Garden Center. (Total project is 10,718 sq. ft. smaller than former K-Mart and in-line stores.)

City of Thousand Oaks staff is recommending to the council that it deny the appeal for a variety of reasons stated in full in this document:

Essentially, they take each of the arguments submitted in the appeal, and respond to them ending with the conclusion that “The Planning Commission determined that the proposed use is consistent with the C-1 zoning,” and “Although the Planning Commission granted waivers for this project, the waivers were considered necessary because they either improved existing site conditions or enhanced public safety.” “Finally, the EIR found no evidence that there would be any significant impacts that could not be mitigated.”

More Details

For those that are interested, you should go to the above link and read the document in full. A few of the main responses by City Staff include the following:

* City staff notes that the Environmental Impact Report indicates all project impacts will be “mitigated to a less than significant level.”

* The zoning for the area is the same zoning which Do-It Center’s store was approved when created.

* The decision was not based on potential revenue, but the City does expect that it will be a regional draw. Economic analysis includes impacts for 13% of the new Home Depot’s sales to be transferred from existing retailers in the city.

* Zoning rules do not require a property owner to build either multi-store, nor specific types of stores (e.g., grocery or drug store). The city has determined that Home Depot’s use is consistent with the general plan for the area, and that the city cannot “direct an applicant to create an upscale ‘village’ development with a specific mix of boutiques, cafes, shops and services.”

* This Home Depot would be about 30% smaller than Newbury Park and other newer Home Depots.

* City staff has determined that there’s ample room for the delivering trucks to maneuver (i.e., is not unsafe).

* A comprehensive noise analysis was conducted and determined that predicted noise levels would not exceed City standards, but conditions were adopted by the Planning Commission to further reduce them anyway.

* The significant grading effort, done to bring the property level closer to street level, will bring the overall site down about four feet.

* A dedicated day laborer site already exists adjacent to Hampshire Road on the other side of the freeway. The site contains public restrooms and on-site facilitator who manages the site. “There is no expectation that day laborers would leave this designated site.”

* There’s a detailed response to the concerns about traffic, impacts on the freeway, how truck counts are done, etc…