Safeway on College Project Controversy Comes to a Head

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"A 62,000 sq.ft. self-contained shopping center with a 50,000 sq. ft. second-floor Safeway "Lifestyle" store and 12,000 sq. ft. of "small shop" street-level storefronts on College at Claremont." "Safeway's proposal to more than double the size of its store at College and Claremont avenues and convert it into a self-contained shopping center is headed for a showdown at the Planning Commission later this month."

The Planning Commission will consider certification and project approval at its public hearing, Wednesday, July 25, starting at 6 PM in the City Council Chambers, City Hall, Second Floor, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza in Downtown Oakland. Agenda available here.

Make your views known now to the Commission: ______________________

**** E-mail your comments to Planning Commission members and City Planner Peterson Vollman. Unless the Planning Commission hears from you, either orally or in writing, before it makes its decisions (which may well be at the July 25 hearing), you may have lost forever your ability to influence those decisions, both on certifying the EIR and on approving the project. If you have something to say/write, the time to do so is NOW. (Written letters may be mailed to the Planning Commission, c/o Planning and Zoning Division, 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612.)

Make sure to state that your letter is a comment on the Safeway Shopping Center - College and Claremont Avenues (File ER09-0006) and ask that your comments be forwarded to the remaining commission members. You may also send copies to Council Member Jane Brunner (jbrunner@oaklandnet.com) and Mayor Jean Quan (officeofthemayor@oaklandnet.com with copy to acampbell-washington@oaklandnet.com).

**** Attend the Planning Commission public hearing. Join your neighbors, as well as representatives of FANS and RCPC, at the Planning Commission's public hearing to let them know what you think about both the EIR and the Project.

RCPC and FANS have roundly criticized the EIR as being inadequate in ignoring or sweeping under the rug significant impacts from the Project. FANS and RCPC have also stated that it is improper to dismiss project alternatives as infeasible just because they don't meet all of Safeway's goals for the project. RCPC has criticized the project itself as being inconsistent with the general plan's "maintain and enhance" strategy for Rockridge, as well as with College Avenue's C-31/CN-1 zoning.

At a more practical level, RCPC and FANS have pointed out that the Project will negatively impact the area's already overtaxed parking and traffic capacities and, as a result, will drive potential customers away from existing College Avenue retailers.

If you agree with these critiques, the Planning Commission needs to hear from you.

The FEIR is available online (select Current Environmental Review Documents, number 3: College Avenue Safeway; Final Environmental Impact Report, Vols. 1 and 2)