Land Use Update: Rockridge Center and College Ave. Safeways

Rockridge Shopping Center Reconstruction Project (Corner of Broadway and Pleasant Valley) and College Avenue Safeway Shopping Center (Corner of College and Claremont Avenues)
Sunday, May 8, 2011

As reported in last month’s Land Use Committee Update, the Draft Environmental Impacts Reports (DEIRs) for these two large and important projects have again been delayed.

Darin Ranelletti (238-3663, DRanelletti@ oaklandnet.com), the planner assigned to the Rockridge Shopping Center project, now says that the DEIR for that project can be expected, perhaps, some time in June. Once released, there will be a 45-day public review and comment period, including a public hearing before the Planning Commission.

That meeting will not, however, be when the Commission considers whether to approve the project. That won’t happen until all of the comments on the DEIR have been responded to in writing and the Planning Commission has decided whether to certify the Final EIR as adequate.

Bottom line: don’t expect this project to come up for possible approval until some time in the fall. At that point, the Planning Commission may look a bit different. Doug Boxer and Vince Gibbs have left the commission, giving Mayor Quan two appointments to the commission. In the meantime, RCPC and other community groups will continue trying to convince Safeway that a better project would, in the long run, be in everyone’s best interest.

On a related note, Safeway has extended the lease for the CVS store until December. The store had already begun closing down departments and emptying out shelving areas. Now, it appears they will restock the store, at least temporarily. Does this mean there’s a possibility that Safeway has had a change of heart about kicking CVS out? Don’t count on it. More likely, it just indicates they’ve realized they won’t have a project approved any time soon, and don’t want to leave the store sitting vacant. Still, one can hope.

If you want to write to Safeway about this, the address is:

David Zylstra, Chief Operating Officer Property Development Centers 5918 Stoneridge Mall Road Pleasanton, CA 94588-3229

Concerning the College Avenue Safeway store project, it looks like Peterson Vollman, (pvollman@oaklandnet.com, 238-6167), the planner handling the project, hasn’t met his goal of having the DEIR for that project released in April. As of press time, there’s no word back from him about when to expect public release of the DEIR.

Both of these projects can be expected to have multiple impacts on Rockridge, ranging from traffic, to air and water quality, to overall quality of life. RCPC expects to be involved in commenting on both EIRs, and encourages Rockridge residents to participate in the public review process. Look for future updates on both projects on the RCPC website, http://rockridge.org.