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Goleta City Council Has Target Store in Its Sights for Consideration of General Plan Changes

Target representatives seeking modifications that would allow construction of 165,000-square-foot store at Hollister and Los Carneros Way

Target supporters, and opponents, mark your calendars.

Company representatives will be approaching Goleta’s City Council on Tuesday evening about making several General Plan changes that could lead to a Target retail store being built in the city.

In March, city staff was approached by Target representatives about the guidelines involved in locating a store at the intersection of Hollister Avenue and Los Carneros Way. The eight-acre project site is listed in city documents at 6466 and 6470 Hollister Ave. and 170 Los Carneros Way.

“Those discussions gradually grew into the submittal of an application for a formal planning consultation, and, most recently, the submittal of an application for General Plan amendments,” according to the city staff report.

Target also included a site plan with its application, providing a glimpse of what a Goleta store might look like. The plan describes a two-story, 164,800-square-foot retail store.

Over the years, Target has had a number of discussions with local officials, first in Santa Barbara and now in Goleta.

Rumors of a store opening on the South Coast surfaced as long ago as 2000, when discussions began about Target leasing property in the city of Santa Barbara. But officials say the Santa Barbara City Council has shot down proposals several times during closed sessions.

In 2009, Target sought a lease at 6100 Hollister Ave., a 15-acre property owned by the Santa Barbara Airport. Andrew Bermant of Bermant Development Co. rallied support for the store, stressing the benefits to the city of Santa Barbara, including the potential sales tax.

“Target estimates that $3 million is spent annually in the Target store in Ventura by shoppers with Santa Barbara ZIP codes,” Bermant said in a letter to the City Council. “Another $1 million is spent by Santa Barbara shoppers with Target credit cards in the Santa Maria store.”

The letter went on to say that these figures only account for purchases made with Target credit cards, and not other types of cards.

Bermant’s letter noted that sales tax revenues could rise to $1 million annually for the next 50 years.

But Santa Barbara’s unwillingness to act has placed the store within reach of the city of Goleta, which would reap the financial benefits of a regional store like Target.

Target Corp.‘s current application requests three changes to Goleta’s General Plan. One amendment would allow the site to accommodate a big-box store, since currently only existing locations in the city are designated for such a use.

The properties’ land-use designation would also require a change to regional commercial from general commercial and business park. Additionally, the intersection of Los Carneros Way at Hollister would be affected by the store site, and would need to be realigned, resulting in a change to the General Plan’s transportation element.

“By it’s very nature a Target store is something different and more intense than what was envisioned in the General Plan,” the staff report said. “Thus, a General Plan amendment would be needed as a prerequisite to rezoning and and re-subdividing the properties and issuing development plans for a Target store.”

If the council does approve the amendments Tuesday, Target would submit a complete set of development plans and then work through the city’s planning process. An environmental impact report would be required, evaluating environmental and traffic impacts and a host of other issues.

But even if the council OKs the General Plan changes Tuesday, the reality of a store could still be more than two years down the road.

A public planning process would be conducted over 18 to 24 months from the time that the company submits its plans. Afterward, it would take an estimated 12 to 15 months for more review from the council, the design review board and others.

Tuesday’s meeting begins in City Council chambers, 130 Cremona Drive, Suite B, at 6 p.m.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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