The Target store in Costa Mesa is seeking permission to extend its evening hours to 11 p.m. year-round, two months after company representatives acknowledged that for a year and a half the store had been staying open an extra hour at night in violation of its agreement with the city.
The city received Target’s latest request Jan. 18, according to a copy of the application. Target’s representatives wrote that the extra hour “is critical to overall store sales” and “is not anticipated to have any negative impacts on the surrounding community.”
But neighboring residents have complained of loud machinery operating late at night and early in the morning — a violation of the store’s agreement with the city — and car alarms going off during store hours at night. Eight single-family homes share a backyard wall with the store’s parking lot.
“It affects our peace of mind here,” neighbor Tom McCormick said last month. McCormick and his wife, LouAnne, said the store has repeatedly violated the agreement by loudly sweeping its parking lot early on weekends and operating heavy machinery at night.
Additionally, Target representatives acknowledged in November that the store had been staying open an hour later than allowed for the previous year and a half — another violation of the agreement. The retailer paid a $150 fine, the total for a single night’s violation.
That wasn’t Target’s only recent fine for violating the agreement.
When the city’s Planning Commission permitted Target to open at midnight for Black Friday sales, a neighboring homeowner filed an appeal of the decision. Because of the pending appeal, Target wasn’t entitled to open early, but the store opened for business anyway, opting instead to pay a $500 fine.
Al Morelli, the homeowner who filed the appeal, says the store has had a more severe impact than neighbors originally anticipated and is concerned about Target’s repeated violations.
“We have an agreement, right or wrong,” said Morelli. “It’s a contract, and it should be binding.”
“The city is supposed to be the guardian,” he added. “How many times do they need to violate it before you consider it null and void?”
Morelli said he wants the city to commission an environmental study from a third party before deciding on the extended hours.
A Target spokesman did not return a call seeking comment but last month said the retailer was “working with the City Council to address any concerns related to the store hours.”