Home improvement retailer Lowe's will likely open its doors late 2012 after the City Council approved its development review Tuesday night.
Council members, who also approved a tentative parcel map, a minor conditional use permit and a variance allowing a sign to exceed height limits, gave the retailer an OK with a 5-0 vote.
The approval, which comes two weeks after Walmart was given the OK to expand into a supercenter, is expected to bring approximately 150 full-time jobs to the area.
According to the staff report, Lowe’s will span 11 acres where the Toyota dealership currently is and where the Chevrolet dealership once operated. Toyota would likely move across the street on Poway Road if the council approves the plan at a future meeting.
The home improvement store will include two new buildings—one for the main store and another for a "potential drive-through lane," according to the report. The building "has been designed to comply with the Poway Road Specific Plan standards."
The report also noted that the store will attract 4,024 average daily trips on weekdays and 8,046 on Saturdays.
A variance allowing an alternative methodology for measuring Lowe's proposed wall sign was also approved. According to the staff report, excluding certain areas "would result in a cumulative sign area of 148 square feet."
The council's unanimous approval came after eight people commented in support of the retailer opening in Poway.
Mark Alexander, who said he often visits the Lowe’s in San Diego and Escondido, said he appreciates the “choice” of two home improvement stores.
“I want a choice of places to shop,” said Alexander, who noted he visits Home Depot five to six times a week.
While Jim Hanson said the city "should grab the opportunity" given by the national chain.
Despite the approval, five attendees did speak against the retailer.
Roger Willoughby accused city officials of making the deal "behind closed doors" beforehand.
"I see monsters under my bed," he said, referring to an in which the mayor used the phrase "monsters under the bed" metaphorically to describe concerns with the Walmart expansion. "It happens to be the mayor and his cronies."
Joe St. Lucas also expressed his concerns with the retailer. He noted that the store's proposed sign would be an "eyesore" and the demolition of Toyota to build Lowe's could be hazardous because of possible mold.
Lucas' concerns were addressed by Councilman John Mullin who noted that any possible mold could be mitigated. Mullin also addressed another concern that tax dollars would be used for the Lowe's opening.
"There are no tax dollars," he said. "This is strictly a private development of private property. Our only opportunity to avoid economic stagnation is to encourage redevelopment on private property."
Deputy Mayor Jim Cunningham reiterated Mullin's comments that Poway is "fortunate" to have Lowe's wanting to open up shop in the city. While Councilman Dave Grosch and Councilwoman Merrilee Boyack noted the "sacrifices" nearby residents would have to make while having Lowe's there.
"I do understand that 2,000 trips a day is going to impact your life," Boyack said. "It's very hard to balance that with something that is going to benefit the city so significantly."
With the approval of the project, the store could open in 2012 after nine months of construction, according to Lowe's Jack Mandel, who claims that Powegians spent nearly $1 million in other Lowe's locations in the region last year.
In other council business:
- Council members adopted a resolution allowing the city to amend a pension contract with employees.
- Council members approved a variance allowing a family to add a 90-square-foot addition to their home.
- Council members adopted a memorandum waiving the Temporary Use Permit fee of $172 for Temple Adat Shalom's proposed temporary homeless shelter.
- Council members directed city staff regarding proposed development changes to a 7,750-square-foot commercial shopping center.
- Members of Poway Patriotic Parade Committee made a presentation at the meeting encouraging Powegians to attend the 47th annual parade.
The next City Council meeting will be Oct. 4 as the Sept. 20 meeting was cancelled.