Tempers flared during an Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting Wednesday night where many residents expressed their anger and concern over a Target store opening in their neighborhood.
A Target Express store could make the move into the Antique Center on Newport Avenue.
The concept is not sitting well with most residents.
During Wednesday's meeting, many held signs reading "No Target in OB," protesting the store's potential move.
Residents are concerned Ocean Beach's free-spirited character and its aesthetic uniqueness could disappear.
Business owner Paul Bearce said he is making "No Target in Ocean Beach" shirts because he is concerned about his James Gang printing company going out of business.
"Our retail side will pretty much be impacted by it, I believe, which could force us to go," Bearce said.
"I’ve gone to OB Hardware and wasn't sure if a tool was the right size," said Courtney Walters. "They let me take it home to see if it fit and come back on my word to pay them for it. That’s not going to happen at Target."
Target representatives said they tailor stores that try not to compete too much with local retailers. They also spoke of how their research shows shoppers have a desire not to want to leave their community to get goods and services.
Resident Diana Webster understands that all too well.
"Hopefully we can get a Target in there. One of these days, I may not be able to drive anymore and I’d like to be able to walk to Target or ride a cart," she said.
The Ocean Beach Planning Board has no power to keep a landlord from leasing space to Target but it can make the company's decision more difficult.
In a symbolic move Wednesday night, the board voted to not allow any new licenses that would let liquor be taken off premises.
"Cut the head off the snake, don’t let them have alcohol and they may consider not coming," said planning board member Numan Stotz.
The Alcohol Board Control has the power to grant licenses but will take the board’s decision into consideration--especially since the board says the area is 300 percent oversaturated with liquor licenses. There is also a high number of alcohol-related crimes.
Target Express is just in the planning stages and no decision has been made on whether it will occupy the Antique Center space.