Two applicants for approval of a large-scale commercial and residential development in a semi-rural area of Calabasas pitched their plan Wednesday at a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission.
The two developers worked together to create a master plan for the project. It would include a Home Depot, a Hughes Market, 124 single-family homes and a church on about 175 acres on the east side of Las Virgenes Road near the Ventura Freeway.
Both developers, to come up with a master plan they could agree on, had to drastically revise their original plans.
The Baldwin Co., the applicant for the church and residential portion, won approval in 1991 from Los Angeles County for a church and a shopping center at the site. They have since abandoned the shopping center portion.
That same year, after the city incorporated, the other developer, Pamela Azar, won entitlement from the city for a shopping center, movie theater and day-care center at the site. She has dropped the movie theater and day-care component.
City Councilman Bob Hill said that in general, the plan has potential, but will need fine-tuning. And the two developers, he said, were wise to draw up a master plan for the project, because, among other things, it helps control traffic flow.
"(The city is) kind of big now on master planning," he said. "It gives us a much larger view of the entire project."
Peter Eason, former president of the Deer Springs Homeowners Assn., an organization representing homeowners in the area, said he has mixed feelings about the project, particularly the Home Depot component.
"I don't want to rain on anybody's parade, but the thing is, it's a Home Depot, no matter how you slice it," he said. "It's going to draw a lot of traffic."
And, he said, he believes the entire project will eventually create more spin-off development, which would ruin the area's rural character.
"We really need to look at where we are going," he said. "We talk about controlling growth, and I'm still trying to figure out what we have done to control it up till now."
Julie Meier Wright, secretary of the California Trade and Commerce Agency, said the project will be a boon to the community. Not only will it provide 650 new jobs, she said, but it will also bring in more than $500,000 annually in sales tax revenues.