March 2012 is the target date for the opening of the new Hawthorne Safeway store.

For the past nine months during the construction process, HAND has continued to ask Safeway to: 1) participate in a “crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED)” review of its building plans, and 2) develop a “good neighbor agreement (GNA)” as a foundation for future communication between Safeway and the neighborhood.

At this time the CPTED review has not been completed and conversations have not begun on the GNA.

Both of these actions are important because of neighbor concerns about the effects of the significantly larger store on the neighborhood. Besides the potential for increased noise and traffic flow, the design and policies of the new store could exacerbate drug traffic, vagrancy, graffiti and litter, which were problems at the old store.

At the new store, the underground parking structure will always be open and the loading dock, garbage dumpsters and bottle return will be on the residential side of the building. Initially there will be no security guards and patrolling of the premises will be at the discretion of the store manager. Decisions about store hours (24/7?) and hours of alcohol sales will likely be based on profit potential not neighbor concerns. A GNA would help neighborhood and store representatives work together to face these issues proactively.

Other stores, like New Seasons, have taken the initiative to interact with the neighborhood when it builds new stores. With Safeway, all of the initiative to insure a good working relationship between a store and the neighborhood has come from neighbors. In early November Safeway was given a letter signed by 72 neighbors (from a casual signature-gathering effort) requesting action on the CPTED and GNA — and still there has been no response.

Although neighbors in the immediate vicinity of the store are most directly affected by store design and policies, Safeway’s lack of response should be of concern to everyone who lives in the HAND neighborhood and believes that businesses, especially large ones, should communicate with and show respect for neighbors — who also happen to be customers.

For continuing updates, send your name and email address to: – Ralph Schmoldt, 12/3/11