The city of Goleta has been in preliminary talks with representatives of Target, with the national discount retailer looking to possibly open a store in the city.

While no development application has been submitted, Target filed for a planner consultation last month, a precursor to filing an application for development.

In March, Target representatives approached the city with a proposal to develop a store in the area of Hollister Avenue near the Santa Barbara Airport, possibly on the northeast corner of Los Carneros Way and Hollister, formerly the site of a Chevron gas station and a FedEx distribution building. The site currently houses the Goleta Valley Athletic Club and a landscape design firm, both of which are also on the market.

“Staff has since met with Target representatives numerous times to better understand their ‘concept’ site plan and advise them of due process considerations and land use/enviro/design and policy challenges,” City Manager Dan Singer said in an email to Noozhawk.

Target has an exploratory option to purchase the properties, and, according to city staff, would “have to make a substantial investment in late October to continue that option through the course of an estimated 24-month-long public planning process.”

The Target store proposal may come before the City Council this fall for the initiation of a General Plan amendment and a potential development agreement, pending the outcome of the planner consultation.

“Target is engaged in due diligence, which includes contact with planning staff on policies, standards and practices contained in the General Plan, zoning code and other city ordinances,” Planning and Environmental Services director Steve Chase said. “That is what a planner consultation is all about — clarifying the rules of the road and estimating time and costs involved in a public planning process. Staff understands that Target is shooting for the Thanksgiving time frame to complete their due diligence.

“All I can tell you is that we are very interested in a store in the Santa Barbara area — we have been for some time and are actively pursuing the opportunity,” said Target spokesman Eddie Babe, who declined to provide specifics on any particular sites.

Noozhawk contributing writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.