The Santa Rosa City Council voted 5-2 against a proposed Lowe’s Home Improvement store at an industrial site on Yolanda Avenue amid questions about the environmental impact of the project and the potential to hurt local business. At the Sept. 1 council hearing, several leaders of major businesses in the city advocated opposition to the proposal.
Meanwhile, on July 21 the Vallejo Planning Division approved a proposed Lowe’s store on the site of a former Mazda and Hyundai dealership in the auto row near Interstate 80. Lowe’s switched plans from building a store in the Napa Junction development in neighboring American Canyon in 2006.
No comments were submitted in the 60-day period, according to Vallejo senior economic development analyst Annette Taylor.
An environmental-impact report had been conducted for the area previously, so only a mitigated negative declaration of environmental impacts was required and zoning was consistent with the use, so the planning division could approve the application.
A deal between the Mooresville, N.C.-based retailer and Vallejo property owner Ken Ross of Team Superstores was pending at press time.
Other retailers are active in Vallejo, despite the city’s being in bankruptcy protection, according to Ms. Taylor.
Automotive parts retailer AutoZone just inked a 15-year ground lease for a little more than a half-acre of land at 3020 Sonoma Blvd. The Memphis-based retailer has been looking to relocate its Vallejo store from 730 Admiral Callaghan Lane to a new prototypical building at this site for a few years, and now the company has applied for building permits for a 7,800-square-foot store. The retailer has eight other North Bay stores. Jon Stansbury of Terranomics represented AutoZone in the lease with owner Joe Khayat.
Also Bed Bath & Beyond is occupying a shuttered Linens n’ Things store in Gateway Plaza.
Santa Rosa-based KriStar Enterprises Inc., which popularized erosion-control systems years ago, released a new line of products called the POD Water Management System to address increasing regulatory requirements to mimic the watershed hydrology and water treatment capabilities of a site before construction, paving and similar work.
Called low-impact development, or LID, this methodology seeks to limit the flow of rainwater, and thus erosion, off a site and clean contaminants such as sediment and petroleum products. The approach seeks to improve water quality and reduce the need to upgrade stormwater-handling infrastructure.
The Bay Area Regional Water Quality Control Board – which oversees southern Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties as well as most of Marin County – recently began including three tiers of best-management practices in discharge permits.
First, water should be retained on site to percolate into the soil. Second, any water that leaves the property should be treated via landscaping such as a tree boxes in sidewalks or "bioswales," which are grass-lined ditches.
Informal practice among water-quality regulators for the past couple of years has been to call for the first two tiers of water handling, with ample explanation given for why a manufactured system should be used, according to Jon McDonald, KriStar engineering services manager.
"We anticipate we'll have to put emphasis on products that will serve demand for hydrological and landscape-based treatment solutions," he said.