Tearing Down a City to Build a Shopping Mall
I exited US Highway 101 South at Madonna Road, squinting into the sun through the windshield of a friends borrowed truck. As I neared the Central Coast Plaza that includes Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond and other retailers, I wondered what was to become of the Dalidio farmland, just south of the shopping center. 130acres of farmland sit just ten yards from the center, separated only by the newly paved Dalidio Road. I thought about how neat it is that we can have agriculture in such close proximity to large scale retail and both can prosper. I parked the truck in the plaza parking lot and strolled across the street to get a sense of the farmland. Rows and rows of cabbage lay in
…show more content…
Ernie Dalidio, a wealthy farmer and owner of the currently disputed agricultural land, decided over a decade ago that it was time to quit cultivating on this plot of land. At the time, he was farming another parcel of land near Cayucos, California and had his hands full. Retail was rapidly replacing formerly cultivated land all around him, so he felt inclined to do the same. He hired Bill Bird, a local developer and businessman, who had developed the neighboring Central Coast Plaza. Bird and Dalidio were ready to sign the papers that would authorize construction of the project, however Bird had other problems. A lawsuit had recently been filed against him regarding his development of the Central Coast Plaza. He owed thousands of dollars in back taxes, and had neglected to pay them. The following ten-year period was plagued by lawsuits and large-scale money disputes, delaying the construction of the development. The city left it up to Bird and Dalidio to resolve the problems; they ended up waiting over a decade before finally approving the development on July 6 of this year. However, citizens have succeeded in gathering enough signatures on petitions to schedule an election to decide whether or not to overturn the Council’s decision. A special April 26 election will decide whether or not a shopping center including stores such as Target, Circuit City and Old Navy will be built.
With Bird and