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Home Depot drops bid to open store in Sunland-Tujunga

January 7, 2009 |  9:51 am

The long, occasionally ugly fight over a proposed Home Depot in Sunland-Tujunga is over.

Home Depot, which sued the city of Los Angeles over its plans for a new store in the San Fernando Valley, has given up on its legal fight and will drop its application to open a store on Foothill Boulevard. Word of Home Depot’s decision raced across some San Fernando Valley-based blogs late Tuesday night.

Home Depot spokeswoman Kathryn Gallagher made the official announcement this morning, blaming both the national economy and the city’s regulations for its decision: “The Home Depot no longer plans to pursue its proposed store in Sunland Tujunga. In conjunction with this decision, we have informed the City of Los Angeles that we are dropping our lawsuit against the City related to this project.

"Throughout this process, we complied with all laws and regulations in relation to the site and believe that lawsuit was just. However, given the steps the City is requiring for us to move forward, coupled with the current economic landscape, it simply no longer makes business sense for us to pursue this project,” Gallagher wrote in an e-mail to The Times.

Home Depot had hoped to open in an abandoned Kmart building. At the peak of the fight, more than 500 people showed up at the city’s hearings on the project, sparking debates over parking, traffic, day laborers and even immigration.

Opponents of Home Depot sounded slightly stunned this morning that they had won against the hardware superstore, which had retained some of the city’s most powerful lobbyists for its case. Throughout the Home Depot debate, they had voiced dismay at the expensive campaign used by Home Depot.

“This is a hard-fought victory,” said Abby Diamond, a board member with the Sunland-Tujunga Alliance, which opposed Home Depot. “We’ve put our heart and souls into this. It’s a great outcome. We just hope now that we can find a developer who will develop the site in a way that suits the community’s needs."

-- David Zahniser