Home Depot eyeing Sorrento Valley location

Home Depot is exploring adding a new location in Sorrento Valley.

The potential Home Depot site is located on the east side of Sorrento Valley Road at Industrial Court, near the intersection of Carmel Mountain Road. Westcore Properties purchased the property from Caltrans and is considering the property for the home improvement big box store.

According to project representative John Ziebarth at a presentation at the Jan. 15 Torrey Hills Community Planning Board meeting, Home Depot’s plans are still very conceptual and they have not yet submitted to the city.

“Home Depot is in the due diligence period, gathering input to see if we can overcome some technical aspects of this property, is this something the community would like to see,” Ziebarth said.

A Home Depot would be allowed by right in the zoning but as the property is located in the Coastal Zone, development would require San Diego City Council approval. An environmental document would be required as part of the discretionary permit process.

The proposed site falls under the jurisdiction of the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board, however, the impact will be felt by Torrey Hills and Carmel Valley—Ziebarth is making the rounds to all of the local planning boards to provide information and gauge interest in the project.

“Everyone should be allowed to give input,” said Ziebarth, who is scheduled to present to the Carmel Valley planning board on Jan. 24.

The Torrey Pines board heard the project at its December meeting and while Torrey Pines Chair Dennis Ridz commended the applicant for reaching out to the community early on in the process, the Torrey Pines Community Plan states as policy that development of freestanding retail commercial uses in the industrial areas is restricted to uses that serve only the immediate Sorrento Valley industrial area.

Home Depot by contrast, would serve a larger regional need.

Currently, the only Home Depots serving the area are located in Encinitas and Carmel Mountain Ranch.

“The San Diego area is probably one of the more underserved by Home Depot and I believe this location would be excellent for the community,” Ziebarth said.

Traffic will likely be the biggest issue in Torrey Hills, Ziebarth said, although he said a Home Depot generates half the traffic of a retail center. Whatever traffic is generated by the project will be additive because the lot has sat vacant for years.

“I love Home Depot, I use it all the time,” said board member Martin Brum. “I think the concern in the community is that the intersection of Carmel Mountain Road and I-5 is a huge bottleneck. I would love to see some improvements to traffic in the area if anything else were to go in.”

One resident in attendance said the convenience of a handy Home Depot in that location would be “awesome,” however, he pointed out that the area floods whenever it rains. The blocked drainage channel under Sorrento Valley Road would need to be addressed, Ziebarth said.

Torrey Hills Chair Kathryn Burton said she does have concerns about the community and the environment being adversely impacted by a Home Depot, “There are big issues in that location because of the (Los Penasquitos) lagoon,” she said.

Ziebarth said if Home Depot moves forward, the Torrey Hills board will be involved in the discretionary process, which will include review of the traffic and environmental impacts as well as the chance to provide input on the architecture.

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