It looks like there are plans to bring a Sprouts store to Palmdale. But that’s not all. There’s also a resort-style apartment complex and more retail attached to the plan.
While this should be good news, it seems that not everyone is happy about it. That’s nothing new, though. When it comes to retail and new development, it’s very rare to get people to agree to it, with no opposing points of view. Those who oppose typically cite the same reasons, regardless of where the development is going to be built, meaning people in North Carolina likely will have the same reasons as people in California, for not wanting developments cropping up in their neighborhoods: Quality of life, traffic, overcrowding and potential theft or other crime.
While you can’t really argue those points because they are valid concerns, one does have to take into consideration the need for more retail options, not to mention housing and the jobs that will be created by the new developments. Top it all off with the fact that businesses want to come to the Antelope Valley, which means it will continue to grow, and it’s hard to be negative about it.
Granted, there are some who will never be convinced that growth and more retail are positive moves, because sometimes it’s hard to adapt to change.
But for those who drive to Valencia to shop at Sprouts, the new store will save them some time and money spent on gas — not to mention, their money will stay in the AV.
Most Palmdale City Councilors voted in favor of approving a zoning change from commercial to residential use on a portion of the site and a corresponding General Plan amendment, during their Tuesday meeting. The motion passed 3-1, with Mayor Pro Tem Austin Bishop casting the lone dissenting vote.
He said he had concerns about traffic, crime and keeping quality of life for the existing residents and not impacting them in any way.
According to a Facebook poll published by the AV Press, out of a total of 79 votes, 76 were in favor of Sprouts coming to Palmdale, while three were not in favor.
While that’s understandable, accomplishing those tasks would be near impossible in the long run. The parcel in question is near the Antelope Valley Mall, an area that already has several businesses and traffic. The lot that the development will go on is ideal for retail and housing, since there are already both in that area.
If this deal fell through, it would only be a matter of time before someone else came along with an idea to develop the lot. Because of its location, it’s not something that would remain vacant forever.
Councilor Juan Carrillo understood that point, but more importantly, he also understood the need for affordable housing in the Antelope Valley. He pointed to his own experience when starting his family, saying they lived in an apartment complex.
“To me, providing a different housing type is the responsible thing to do,” he said. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting a young family at an apartment complex. To me, it isn’t responsible to only provide one type of housing ... Things change. We have to adapt to change. Inevitably, we are growing.”
He’s right. According to 2010 Census information, the population of Palmdale was 166,044. The 2019 estimate is 181,517 and the projected 2024 population is 191,672. With the average household income being $76,482 and the number of housing units it Palmdale at 164,761, it’s no wonder more housing units are being built — they are certainly needed.
“It (the project) doesn’t solve everything, it’s not going to solve our housing needs,” Councilman Richard Loa said. “But it’s a step in that direction.”
Indeed, it is. Hopefully affordable housing and more retail options are on the horizon.