Store Owner Wins a Round in Video Wars


A local video store owner has won a partial victory in his fight against Blockbuster Video, which plans to build a store near his, but a spokesman for the national chain said the fight will continue.

The city’s Planning Commission voted Monday night to require that Blockbuster change the layout of its planned store in the Westlake Plaza Shopping Center. Citing traffic and safety concerns, commissioners said the new store’s front doors should face south toward Agoura Road rather than east into the parking lot of a nearby Vons grocery market.

Late last year, Ernest Martel, owner of Video Depot, which is next to Vons, appealed a planning department decision that would have allowed Blockbuster’s doors to face east toward both Vons and his shop.


Martel had asked the commission to require Blockbuster to occupy another space in the plaza, farther away from his store. Failing that, he asked that the doors face south so that people coming in and out of the store will not have to cross a busy traffic lane within the parking lot.

Although the commission rejected the idea of moving Blockbuster to another part of the shopping center, Martel said he was pleased that the doors would be moved.

“The fact that they’re no longer facing in [toward the parking lot] means this doesn’t encroach on the parking for my business,” he said.

Blockbuster spokesman Wally Knief, however, said the owners and managers of the property will appeal the decision to the City Council. Officials at the center’s management company, La Cagnina & Associates, declined comment Tuesday.