Home Depot withdraws application at former Petaluma Kmart site

The move follows the City Council approval of a new zoning amendment that requires extensive environmental review for large retail projects.|

Home Depot will no longer be coming to Petaluma, after the department store withdrew its application proposing a new store at the former Kmart site in the Plaza North Shopping Center.

A representative with Home Depot confirmed in an email late Wednesday morning, the company is no longer going after the property at 261 North McDowell Boulevard. No other details were provided.

The move comes after the City Council approved a zoning amendment on July 18 that would require store developments of more than 25,000 square feet to obtain conditional use permits and undergo full environmental review.

“We have a huge empty space in a major shopping center and the mom and pop restaurants and retailers there will continue to suffer from the lack of an anchor tenant,” said council member Mike Healy in a Wednesday text message. Healy was the only “no” vote in the zoning amendment’s approval. “It is teetering on a blight situation.”

Gallelli Real Estate submitted plans in Jan. for the proposed project in the 19-acre shopping center, which called for the demolition of the original 90,000-square-foot building, formerly the longtime home to a Kmart, to make way for a 107,891-square-foot main building and a 28,216-square-foot garden center. The project also would have included a tool and truck rental center, and the addition of more than 450 parking spaces.

But a new ordinance, adopted in a 6-1 City Council vote July 18, would require Home Depot to obtain a conditional use permit from the Planning Commission, which allows city officials to fully review the project in order to “mitigate impacts and ensure that the commercial land use has a net positive community impact.”

Advocates for the newly approved zoning amendment touted its ability to bring the city closer to its carbon neutral climate goals by 2030 by curbing effects associated with larger stores including traffic congestion and air pollution.

Many residents applauded the amendment, and the idea that the city could focus attention on locally-owned businesses, including Friedman’s Home Improvement which resides only a half-mile up the road from the proposed Home Depot site.

“We as a community need to think creatively about how to adapt vacant buildings in ways that will benefit our town over the long term, help us reach our climate goals, and not put existing local stores out of business,” said resident Deborah Garber in a letter posted to the city website on July 18.

The Plaza North Shopping Center is home to more than two dozen businesses such as Don Pancho’s Mexican restaurant, the Hunan Village restaurant, Soban Korean Cuisine, Club Pilates and more. Many of the owners expressed support for the Home Depot because of the foot traffic they say it would bring to their stores.

“We have managed to survive through the pandemic and through the loss of Kmart. But we cannot do this forever,” said Lily Huang, owner of Hunan Village, in a previous letter to the city posted to the city website. “By passing ordinances that will delay bringing in Home Depot and other large tenants to shopping centers, you are denying businesses the opportunity to recover from the difficulties of the last few years. This ordinance will hurt Petaluma and continue to encourage local residents to take their shopping dollars out of town.”

Amelia Parreira is a staff writer for the Argus-Courier. She can be reached at amelia.parreira@arguscourier.com or 707-521-5208.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor