LIVE OAK -- Homeowners frustrated about a bright red Target bullseye sign shining into their backyards have started an online petition asking the retailer to move or remove the sign. In two weeks, it's been signed by more than 50 people.
John Silva and his neighbors in Live Oak brought up the issue in July to the City Council in Capitola, where the store is located, and to their county supervisor, John Leopold, who organized a meeting to discuss it.
Target spokeswoman Mya Walters provided this statement: "After participating in the community meeting in August, the sign was lowered and dimmed."
Silva, who lives on Sommerfeld Street, said he doesn't see any difference.
"If you stood in our neighborhood it wouldn't seem any dimmer," he said.
The sign lowers property values, according to Amy Jespersen, another homeowner on Sommerfeld.
"If you plan on selling your house, you have to disclose the 'interference' from Target," she said.
The sign Target lowered, according to Capitola city manager Jamie Goldstein, is the one on the parking garage next to Target, not the one facing homes on Sommerfeld.
"It's been difficult for everybody," Goldstein said. "We've tried to facilitate dialogue."
The Capitola Planning Commission approved eight signs at the Capitola Mall for the discount retailer, which has been hugely popular with county shoppers, boosting tax revenue for Capitola.
The impact on residential neighbors
The sign that upsets the Live Oak residents faces Clares Street along the back of the mall. If the idea was to attract shoppers from other neighborhoods, it's not working because the sign can't be seen from Capitola Road or from 41st Avenue, according to Leopold.
"The community has a real and legitimate concern," Leopold said. "Originally (Target) requested a sign facing Capitola Road, but the planning commission decided that wasn't a good idea so they put it on the back side. The planning commission didn't realize the impact it would have."
He said the "best" idea is to move the sign to another part of that building.
"We would like to work with Target to make that happen," he added.
Leopold plans a follow-up meeting 7-9 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Jade Street Community Center in Capitola to talk about plans for the walkway and a wall at the end of Sommerfeld and Axford Road. The walkway provides a shortcut to the mall, a convenience for Live Oak residents, but it's often dark as vandals knock out a light and tag the wall, eluding police cruisers by escaping on foot.
The Target sign likely will be a topic of discussion as well.
Follow Sentinel reporter Jondi Gumz on Twitter at Twitter.com/jondigumz
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Supervisor John Leopold leading discussion of wall and walkway at Axford Road and Sommerfeld Street and Target sign on Clares Street
WHEN: 7-9 p.m. Jan. 9
WHERE: Jade Street community center, 4400 Jade St., Capitola