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Council approves extended hours for Target [Updated]

Councilmembers Wendy Leece and Steve Mensinger dissent, citing their disapproval of Target's violation of the previous agreement.

April 17, 2012|By Jenny Stockdale, Special to the Daily Pilot

The Costa Mesa City Council voted 3 to 2 Tuesday to extend the hours of the Target at 3030 Harbor Blvd. six days a week from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., nearly five months after store representatives acknowledged repeatedly breaking its hourly operational agreement with the city.

The new hours are effective immediately.

Councilwoman Wendy Leece and Councilman Steve Mensinger dissented, stating their disapproval for Target's violation of the agreement instated in April 2000 and the inadequate community outreach.

Noting that several other nearby Target stores close at 10 p.m., including Irvine and Santa Ana, Leece clarified her stance.

"When this came through in 2000, it was in compliance with the standards of the neighborhood, and those still stand," she said. "We should respect the rights of the residents to enjoy the quiet environment of their homes."

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Supporting council members said they preferred to approve the hour change for the benefit of the greater community, and felt the benefits outweighed the negative immediate impact the change had on a small number of adjacent neighbors.

Residents of eight single-family homes, whose backyards border the store, are most directly impacted by this change.

Late in the discussion Mayor Eric Bever motioned to close the northern entrance at 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Target officials complied and the change will go into effect immediately.

At the meeting, he said shoppers will be encouraged to park on the southern side of the lot, farther away from the neighbors.

Public comment from more than 20 speakers reflected a broad range of concerns in favor of and against the time change, detailed in a147-page city report on the subject.

Al Morelli, a 27-year Costa Mesa resident who owns and rents two of those homes, filed an appeal last November against Target for a separate violation of store hour operation during last year's Black Friday. He has been a long-time opponent of the issue.

"I'm lost," he said before the council. "I'm lost because it has been going so long — 12 years. They're asking for an extension of hours but it's the cumulative effect of a lot of other things. Black Friday, extension of holiday hours during holiday season, and now they're asking for extended hours because they got caught with their pants down, violating their agreement for a year and a half. I don't know what else to say."

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