It’s too early to tell if the City Council will approve a plan for nationwide retailer Target to build a store in Scotts Valley.
One thing is certain, though. By the time the plan goes before the council in May or June of 2008, there will have been plenty of input from the community.
“They’re in a full-court press, to put it in sports terms,” said Councilman Cliff Barrett.
At the Nov. 21 city council meeting,
16 residents spoke passionately about the proposal from Title Two Investment Corp. to build a 155,000-square-foot Target on La Madrona Drive.
Five were in favor of the development and 11 opposed it, including many from the Monte Fiore-gated community adjacent to the proposed site.
“There was a lot of discussion — passionate, informed, logical, respectful. It was Scotts Valley at its best,” said Councilman Jim Reed.
Despite the proposal being less than a month old, Reed has heard concerns about traffic impact on the area and the nearby Highway 17 interchange and questions about environmental effects.
“You’ve got to have answers to make an informed decision, and right now we just don’t have them,” said Reed, who won’t venture an opinion this early.
Answers to many of the questions might come when the city planning staff finishes its examination of the plan, including an environmental review, for the Planning Commission. The commission will make a recommendation to the council, likely in May or June.
The Monte Fiore Homeowners Association is strongly opposed to the location.
“We’re looking to win this battle politically, and that’s one person at a time,” President Frank Kertai said.
Kertai hopes to persuade the council that the La Madrona site is not the right place. “There is a process and we’re digging into that process,” Kertai said.
Kertai plans to meet with the Chamber of Commerce and look into the Scotts Valley General Plan, which by his interpretation calls for the city to deny projects that will adversely affect residential zones.
“Short of changing the laws of physics, I don’t see how these concerns can be mitigated,” Kertai said of light pollution, traffic and garbage issues.
Barrett, who originally opposed the development, is still against placing a big-box store at the “gateway” into Scotts Valley. Barrett says he’s looking for more upscale stores for the location.
“I can be swayed,” Barrett added.
The other four council members said they will not comment on their position until they learn more about the project.
“In the meantime, we’re getting pounded on a daily basis,” Barrett said. “That’s democracy in action, and I love it.”
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