Target is heading to San Luis Obispo. And that’s not all: The massive retailer will undoubtedly bring more traffic to Los Osos Valley Road, a stretch already dominated by Costco and other warehouse stores.
The San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously Sept. 1 to accept the development’s favorable environmental impact report and rezone the land, formally called Prefumo Creek Commons project, from open space to retail.
In return for paving over some of the last remaining open spaces in the city and building a parking lot and stores, developer Madonna Enterprises pledged to leave the 11.9 acres of land that lie east of Prefumo Creek untouched.
The 140,000 square-foot megastore—along with five other retail outlets—will be built on the vacant lot across from Home Depot and Costco. The property was originally part of the Madonna empire and is being purchased by Target.
The five-hour-and-15 minute council meeting drew a large crowd, made up of pro-Target forces facing off against the project’s future neighbors.
Kristie Molina, owner of the Laguna Village Shopping center located down the street from the proposed megastore, was the most impassioned critic against the traffic the project would bring. She pleaded with the council to understand the brake-light-and-blinker horrors that might occur if development continues on Los Osos Valley Road. The city recently restricted a left turn into her shopping center because it was deemed unsafe. She said all the new developments were gradually choking the area with traffic.
“They came in and took away our access with no warning,” Molina said. “Well, why did they do that? Where did the backup come from? Irish Hills. Who developed that? Madonna. Who is the developer of Target? Madonna. Is this accumulative traffic? Yes.”
The city planners wrote that they believe the Target complex will only increase traffic by three percent.
Most of the project’s opponents left one by one throughout the night as it became increasingly apparent it was going to get unanimous council support. The developers stayed to the end to witness their victory.
The city planning commission suggested the council require the developers to give up some parking spaces and one of the retail stores for 3.5 acres of multifamily housing. That proposal ran into trouble with the Airport Land Use Commission, which said the houses would sit uncomfortably close to the area beneath the airport’s landing zone. Though the proposed new housing would be yards from existing housing, the proposed new housing would sit just a few feet within the no-new-houses approach zone.
The developer accepted a compromise: In lieu of housing, it would eliminate some parking to preserve 3.5 more acres of open space. The council also approved a requirement that five percent of parking spaces be reserved for hybrid and electric vehicles.
A road will lead from Los Osos Valley Road to the back of the property, which bumps against the Dalidio land, another large open space that will potentially be developed in the future. In such a case, a new thoroughfare parallel to Madonna Road will link the Target with the shopping Mecca that is the Promenade and Madonna Plaza.