Do We Really Need a Target Here, Westlake Village?

UPDATE: Yes, everyone thought we needed one, so now there is one. And I shamelessly go there whenever I need cheap imported goods in a hurry. But look at the nice car-free photo below. That was nicer.

Is the Westlake Village area so full of cheap, lazy residents that we need to have yet another enormous and costly shopping center built at the intersection of Lindero Canyon Boulevard and Russell Ranch Road?

Last I checked, there is already a Costco, a Staples, an Albertson’s and dozens of other stores and fast food restaurants at that intersection. I’ve lived and/or worked in Agoura Hills for 10 years and have never found myself at any great disadvantage because of the lack of cheap designer t-shirts or laundry detergent that is $1 less than you can find at a grocery store.

There is a parcel of land near Costco and the cemetery called Lot C. A developer owns it, and wants to develop it. Currently the area is not zoned for retail use, but the developer has made a deal with Target as the anchor store and wants the city of Westlake Village to rezone the area to allow for a new shopping center.

When I first learned about this I sighed and tried to ignore it. But the more I read about it, the more nauseous and filled with dread I become. My family, as well as countless others, moved to this area because it is slower, greener, and has more available free parking than the valley or points east. If a Target and all its accoutrements moves in literally down the street from my house, our exodus will have been in vain.

The other night I did an experiment. I had several errands to run and a variety of non-related items to purchase. I had a choice: drive 15 minutes to Target and purchase all the items in one place, or stay here in Westlake/Agoura and hop from store to store.

Both were good choices. I can get a picture frame at Michael’s, a printer ink cartridge at Staples, high-end hair conditioner from CVS, milk and bread from Albertson’s, Ralph’s, or Vons, and storage containers from any of those places.

I chose to drive to Target because I was in the mood to be at Target. And guess what – I am in the envious position of having TWO (2) Targets to choose from: the one in Woodland Hills, or the one in Newbury Park. Let’s face it, the farther you get from LA, the nicer things are, so I went to Newbury Park. At 7pm on a Tuesday evening, there was little traffic, and the panhandlers I often see in the parking lot there (yes, even in Newbury Park) were absent.

It was a pleasant shopping experience. The drive was not a big deal. I live in Agoura Hills, and I could not do that if I couldn’t afford to pay for the gas that took my car to Target in Newbury Park. I happily planned to write this post and tell you that no, we don’t actually need a Target in Westlake Village.

But then this morning, I read the letters in the Acorn, our weekly local newspaper.

“Personally speaking, having to drive 20 miles on my weekends to Target is not only inconvenient but expensive.”
-Chris Antonsen

“The community should be pleased that the developers have been able to secure the participation of a retailer like Target, with its reputation for quality goods at fair prices, and reinvestment in local schools and charities.”
-Stephen and Deborah Smith

Quality goods at low prices? How about disposable items, dirt cheap? Anything you purchase at Target can be expected to spontaneously disintegrate at a moment’s notice. Don’t get me wrong – I obviously love a good Target haul, but I’m under no illusion that the products will enrich my life, or that the company’s “giving back” initiatives are anything but self-serving.

Here’s a newsflash, Westlake Village: you get what you pay for. Invite a shopping development into your town for a few tax bucks and you’ll get a legion of new cars coming here every day, more garbage, more pollution, and boatloads of low-price crap manufactured in China.

What happened to think global, buy local? Why not put your money where your mouth is and support local small business instead of making Agoura Hills and Westlake look like every other place in America?

So inflamed am I by this proposal that I am actually going to attend next week’s Public Hearing at Westlake Village City Hall. It’s happening on Wednesday, May 9, at 6:30 PM. I will have to either get a babysitter or bring my children, both of which I would sooner avoid, but that’s how you know that my feelings on this matter are so strong.

Here is a good synopsis of the Lot C development issue at a site called Westlake Revelations, where I also found the image above. Shout out to this site – I didn’t have to call the city or try to navigate their clunky website to find this info.

Comments

  1. Isamery says:

    You can’t stop growth.. You can slow it down only.

  2. Well said!

    Target was a very important store in my hometown of Folsom, CA. — Important in that there weren’t really other options (aside from Wal-Mart, which is similar to saying potato, slightly nicer potato). Now that I live in Santa Cruz I feel very fortunate to have interesting, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable locally owned options.

  3. I’m not sure why you are so upset with this, given that this space is definitely going to be developed into non-residential.
    New office space does not fit the bill for a variety of reasons, including the glut of office space that is going empty and the impact of traffic at peak driving periods.
    The developer has gone above and beyond, working with architects and landscape designers that will make this an appealing destinatiion. And although my own daughter is beyond the age for this sort of job, the Shoppes at Westlake Village will bring lots and lots of new jobs into our community…ideal for our young people. We’re also excited about the new restaurants that will be available to us. I hope people DO come to the May 9th meeting to voice their support for this carefully considered improvement to Westlake Village.

    • Agoura Hills Mom says:

      I don’t think I was unclear in my post, Susan. It’s pretty obvious what makes me upset.

      There are lots of new restaurants available to us all the time, everywhere. Why do they have to be in that spot? And as for the developer going above and beyond, please. It’s all about money, not about community or altruism.

  4. Noelle says:

    You go, Kim. I adore Target but the world does not need more of them and the ease with which a corporation can overturn zoning in a community is most disturbing. I campaigned to refuse a Walgreens that would have backed into my neighborhood on an already dangerously busy intersection with 4 drugstores within a stones throw and ‘we’ won. Keep up the good fight!

  5. Deborah L says:

    I could not agree with you more. The world does not need one more Target. Kudos for stating your opinion, explaining it in a calm, reasonable way, and showing up to the hearing. You’re my kinda gal.

  6. Ben Ditzel says:

    We need businesses of all kinds if only to provide more jobs, save gas, and lower prices forced on us by local yokel ‘general stores’ or last generation’s grocery chains. If I lived in Westlake Village, I would be happy not to have to drive to Newbury Park or the SF Valley just to find affordable products not sold by local price gougers. It’s a sad day when a depression riddled society complains about job creations and progress.

  7. Um because I’m tired of wasting my gas by driving all the way to Simi Valley, Newbury Park and Woodland Hills. Welcome to the new economy. Target and Costco are two COMPLETELY different concepts.

    • Agoura Hills Mom says:

      If you really wanted to live near a Target, I’m pretty sure there are homes in those towns.

  8. I’m still for it, but I’m totally cheap and lazy.

  9. Personally, I moved to Agoura Hills in 1996 to get away from these types of retail stores and big ugly shopping centers. When Home Depot proposed a store in Agoura Hills, the residents fought it tooth and nail, and we won. I like Agoura Hills just the way it is. If Westlake Village wants a target, which basically offers cheaply made items, then Westlake Village residents will get what they deserves…lots more traffic, delivery trucks, and hideous massive shopping centers. No thanks!

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