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Cerritos Council Delays Goodwill Application to Open Store

By Jerry Bernstein

The Cerritos City Council upheld a Planning Commission recommendation calling for passage of an urgency ordinance that establishes a 45-day moratorium on a request by Goodwill Stores to open a store located at 17518 Carmenita Road
Goodwill is seeking a Conditional Use Permit to permit it to operate a store and drop-off center where the former Rite Aid store was located.
Director of Community Development Torrey Conteras said the permit was necessary because the city’s municipal code does not have any regulations regarding second-hand stores.
The ordinance prohibits the establishment, location, use, and/or operation of second-hand stores and/or donation centers in all zones and prohibits the issuance of building permits, use permits, and any land used entitlements.
Councilmembers expressed concern about resident concerns who live in back of the proposed store about a drop-off at the rear of the store and who it might attract when the store is closed.
Councilmember Joseph Cho said he would like more information on existing Goodwill Stores in neighboring cities that have drop off sites and how they are run. Specifically, he and the majority on the council want to know about safeguards at the sites after operating hours and if residents just dump items off and leave. They also asked if Goodwill has any rules governing how items are dropped off.
Goodwill CEO Janet McCarthy told LCCN when items are dropped off the donor receives a receipt for the value of the item(s) for tax purposes. She said Goodwill was looking at placing the drop-off area toward the front of the store. She said it would be enclosed and open only during store hours.
If the council eventually votes against the planning commission recommendation, it will then vote at a later date on the conditional use permit.
In a statement to the council, Harry Saltzgaver, a member of Goodwill’s Board of Directors urged the council to override the commission and reject the moratorium. He said the income generated through Goodwill stores are channeled into their training and employment programs with more than 86 percent of Goodwill SOLAC’s total revenues directed into job training and other community services.
Other Goodwill speakers noted Goodwill’s economic impact in the community. It was pointed out their stores employ 280 individuals, have a starting salary above minimum wage, and offer healthcare and other benefits.
In making its recommendation to the council, the commission expressed reservations regarding potential impacts associated with second-hand retail stores and drop-off donation centers close to residential property that relate to security, excessive foot traffic and the potential for adverse noise. The commissioners also noted the lack of specific regulations governing this type of use in the city code.
Councilman Mark Pulido voted against the moratorium citing his experience with second hand stores, including Goodwill stores. He lauded Goodwill for operating clean and efficient stores and said he believed there would be no problem with an outside drop off site. He described Goodwill as good neighbors. However, the council majority voted for the moratorium with councilman Bruce Barrows casting a yes vote after being assured the moratorium was only to give staff additional time to investigate similar stores and how other Goodwill stores. Are run
Residents also expressed concern about delivery trucks. However, it was noted that when Rite Aid was located on the site, there were delivery trucks going to the site and there were no problems.
Councilmember Carol Chen voted for the moratorium, saying she agreed with Councilman Cho. She too would like additional information concerning drops and how they’re handled at other Goodwill stores in neighboring communities.