Costa Mesa Refunds Fee to Homeowner for Target Appeal

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Following a homeowner’s decision to withdraw his challenge of a Target store’s Black Friday hours, the Costa Mesa City Council refunded his $1,220 appeal fee on Tuesday night.

Al Morelli, who owns one of eight single-family homes that share a backyard wall with the store’s parking lot, had been appealing the Planning Commission’s approval for the store to open starting at midnight the day after Thanksgiving.

In his appeal, Morelli pointed to Target’s violation of its agreement with the city on store hours, and neighbors mentioned other problems they were having with the store.

“I feel that what Mr. Morelli did was the right thing,” said Councilwoman Wendy Leece. “It did get Target’s attention to be a better neighbor.”

The refund was approved by a 5-0 vote.

Morelli discovered in November that the store was staying open until 11 p.m., an hour later than its agreement with the city allows. Target later acknowledged it had been staying open an extra hour for a year and a half.

A couple who live beside the retailer also said the store has violated its agreement by loudly sweeping its parking lot early on weekends and operating heavy machinery at night.

Morelli’s pending appeal had meant Target wasn’t allowed to open early for Black Friday during the recent holiday season. But the store opened for business anyway, opting instead to pay a $500 fine.

Last month a Target spokesman said the retailer was “working with the City Council to address any concerns related to the store hours.”

Morelli said he withdrew his appeal as a goodwill gesture to Target. He sent a letter to company officials about two weeks ago seeking a meeting but hasn’t yet heard back, he added.

“I’d be more than glad to meet with them,” said Morelli. “The ball is in Target’s court.”

— NICK GERDA

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