Neighbors Express Concerns Over Home Depot

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Residents in the area where the Home Depot is to be built had a chance to express their concerns to company representatives yesterday (Monday).

The meeting, organized by the Payson Community Development Office, gave residents within 300 feet of the project a chance to look at the plans for the store.

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Alan Tanner (right), with Bourn Partners, LLC, the real estate company that handled the Home Depot land purchase in Payson, and Vice Mayor Barbara Brewer listen to concerns and questions of residents who have property neighboring the construction site.

The Home Depot will be built at the southwest corner of Houston Mesa Road and Highway 87, putting it next door to the Payson Pines subdivision. The store site is 20 acres, the building is expected to be 102,000 square feet, plus a 35,000-square-foot garden center, according to Kathryn Gallagher, media relations person with the Georgia headquarters of the company.

Alan Tanner, principal with the Bourn Partners, LLC Retail Services Group, the realty company Home Depot is using, said the property is not fully zoned commercial, so it will be necessary to seek rezoning.

"We're going to keep about five acres of the 20 in residential," he said.

Drawings by Steven Capilouto, architect for the Home Depot project, show the back of the property free of development, creating a buffer between it and the neighboring subdivision.

In addition to getting the larger portion of the property rezoned for commercial, Tanner said the company also will be asking for a conditional-use permit for its garden center and seasonal outdoor sales, such as those for Christmas trees.

"A January 2005 opening is planned," Tanner said, "with construction starting in June."

The company is in discussions with the Arizona Department of Transportation about putting a traffic control signal at the Houston Mesa-Beeline intersection, Tanner said.

He said there is currently a traffic analysis being conducted for the potential impact on Houston Mesa Road and Beeline Highway.

The traffic and noise were among the chief concerns expressed by neighboring residents, especially those related to deliveries coming into the store.

Tanner said the company uses a distribution system to limit the amount of truck traffic coming to its stores.

"Rather than having a Black and Decker delivery and other individual companies making deliveries, we have them deliver to a distribution center and have our own trucks come up with material from the different suppliers," said Eric Hagstrom, district manager for the Home Depot stores in Arizona. "We call them our Good Neighbor Guidelines."

Another concern expressed was whether Home Depot would become a gathering place for day laborers, as is the case with some of the company's facilities in the Phoenix area.

"Home Depot tries to deter it," Hagstrom said. "We ask the law enforcement agencies to enforce the loitering laws and have not had much luck at our Thomas site in Phoenix. But we have no problems in Scottsdale and elsewhere because they enforce their laws."

A question was presented about the height of the parking lot light poles. Capilouto said typically the poles are 40 feet high. He said the lights will be shielded to comply with the town's dark sky ordinance.

Plans call for the building to be constructed in a man-made depression, with the excavated material used to create a berm to further lessen the business' impact to neighboring residential areas.

Formal hearings on the Home Depot zoning requests will be held in April, Ray Erlandson of the community development office, said. The planning and zoning commission will hear the issue April 5 and it will be put before the town council April 8, Erlandson said.

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