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Planning Commission Blocks Proposed Goodwill Store

Several Cerritos residents voice their objections to the charity’s request to locate on Carmenita Road, citing illegal dumping and lost property values.

The former home to a Rite Aid Pharmacy at 17518 Carmenita Road has been vacant since 2009, and it looks like it’s going to be that way awhile longer.

In a 4-1 vote, the Cerritos Planning Commission denied Goodwill SOLAC’s request for a conditional use permit after listening to concerns from several residents from the surrounding neighborhood.

Joyce Corgan, who said she’s lived in Cerritos for nearly 50 years, was one of those residents.

“The place went downhill,” she said in reference to a Fullerton neighborhood in the aftermath of a Goodwill store being located there.

Corgan also cited a location in Long Beach she was “familiar” with as well. She added, “I don’t even think it belongs in Cerritos.”

The request for a conditional use permit wasn’t the only challenge the charity encountered during the meeting.

Goodwill, which made the request on behalf of property owner, System II, LLC, also had a moratorium recommendation placed on its needed “retail use” in a 4-1 vote.

The proposed project, which would be classified as “neighborhood commercial,” according to city zoning, would have a designated area for charitable drop-off.

Director of Community Development Torrey Contreras said the permit was required because the city municipal code and city regulations do not exist regarding “second-hand stores.”

He added, “That’s why it triggered the need for the conditional use permit process, so that we further regulate this type of retail use.”

Contreras addressed a question posed by Commissioner Nick Heung Kim regarding potential issues Goodwill may have with its neighbors.

Contreras said the donation drop-off would be located in a “secure area,” obscuring it from the adjacent neighborhood.

After listening to residents and commission members’ concerns, Goodwill CEO and President Janet McCarthy responded, “I, like any other resident, am concerned with who my neighbors are.”

McCarthy assured the audience that Goodwill should not be confused with the Salvation Army, or with other non-profits who place donation bins in various areas, absent supervision. She said that Goodwill employs surveillance cameras and works with local police to prevent illegal dumping.

The city staff will present the commission with a “resolution of denial” at its next meeting for formal adoption, according to city attorney Mark Steres. In addition, the moratorium recommendation will go before the city council requesting that the “staff do further study,” Steres said.

The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 6, at 7 p.m.

George Guiver May 23, 2012 at 06:51 PM
People have a misconception about Goodwill. I've heard people say that it's run by druggies and alcoholics and homeless people live there. Not true. It's a retail store. If done properly, donations are handled cleanly and quickly. Most people don't know that Goodwill trains and finds employment for people with barriers to employment or simply out of work. There's quite a few right now. Too bad this has been voted down. Manager - Goodwill
IslndGrl11 May 25, 2012 at 03:34 PM
This is just another classic example of Cerritos residents being concerned that riff-raff will be allowed into their city. I have lived here more than 30+ years, and cannot stand the pretentious attitudes of these "concerned" residents. People, now you won't have to drive to another city to get your second hand designer duds. But then neighbors might see you shopping in a, gasp, thrift store. Bummer that I will have to continue to drive to Anaheim to make my charitable donations.

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