I want to use this letter to communicate some important information about the future of the Sunland-Tujunga community to those reading today’s Foothill Paper.
I imagine that most of you who have lived here since 2004 or before are aware of the community’s fight to prevent Home Depot from opening a store on the old K-Mart property at 8040 Foothill Blvd., on the corner of Foothill and Woodward Ave. A truly dedicated group of community volunteers spent endless hours picketing at the property, petitioning Home Depot Corporation, and cajoling our then council member Wendy Gruel and the City Planning Department to equitably apply existing City ordinances to prevent the opening of a store that would have had numerous unmitigable negative effects and would have been in violation of the City’s Foothill Blvd. Corridor Specific Plan.
Due to the steely determination of so many local residents, from a true cross section of our community, we won a miraculous victory. But that victory has turned out to be just half of the battle. Since then the property has stood vacant.
As part of my personal research on the position of CD7 candidates for the upcoming local election, I recently spoke to Karo Torossian about his ideas for the future use of this key property.
Very much to my surprise, the proposal he felt was best for the property was a mixed use project, combining a multi-unit residential facility with attached commercial spaces. I have never before, neither during the Home Depot fight nor since then, heard of anyone suggesting this type of use at this location. Personally, I believe such a project would be a completely misguided idea, totally out of character with the nature and spirit of Sunland-Tujunga. I have come to learn that such a project could legally be built there, but it would assuredly involve a number of significant negative consequences, such as (but not limited to): increased traffic, increased noise and illumination effects for adjoining residences, and, most probably, an excessively high structure due to an exemption from the prevailing height restrictions.
Additionally, if this type of proposal were to ever be pursued in the future by a developer or City official it should meet all existing City ordinances and Planning requirements, and, as importantly, be vetted through the local communities on a very widespread basis.
My aim in publishing this letter is to raise community awareness about this possible threat to our community. We have waited too long to see a truly community friendly use for the old K-Mart property and should not have to settle for anything less.