Land Use Update: Safeway, Merrill Gardens, Civiq/Creekside, Future of College Ave

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Merrill Gardens at Rockridge:West Side of Broadway North of 51st Street: This project, which proposes market-rate senior housing over ground floor retail, received final Planning Commission approval on June 18. Neighbors of the project had concerns about project access by construction equipment and deliveries as well as removal of street trees. For the most part, these appear to have been addressed during negotiations with the developer and conditions of approval included in the use permit for the project. RCPC assisted by meeting with the neighbors to discuss approaches to addressing their concerns.

Rockridge Shopping Center Safeway Rebuild Project: Broadway/Pleasant Valley
All of the buildings included in the first construction phase of this project, including the CVS, have been vacated. Demolition should begin shortly. Pre-construction traffic measurements have been made to compare with after-project traffic to see if the project adds to cut-through traffic on nearby residential streets. Safeway has set aside mitigation funds to address those impacts if they occur.

College Avenue Safeway Project: College and Claremont Avenues
Project construction continues. Call the RCPC message phone number (869-4200) if you see something that needs to be brought to Safeway's or the City's attention. Safeway has submitted a Master Sign Program application for project signage. The proposed signs total 335 square feet, almost 90 percent of which will be lighted at night. This doesn't include the large Rockridge sign that was eliminated in negotiations over the project's increased height. The three community groups that settled with Safeway over the project approval submitted a comment letter objecting to the large amount of signage, which is four times as much as for the recently renovated Shattuck Avenue store and includes ten times as much lighted signage. Oakland planner Peterson Vollman (238-6167) has indicated he intends to approve the application. Once approved, there are ten days to appeal to the Planning Commission. Let us know your thoughts.

Civiq/Creekside Project Replacement: East Side of Telegraph Avenue Between 51st St. and Claremont Ave.
These two large projects on the border between the Rockridge and Temescal neighborhoods were both approved by the City, but never built. Now, a local development group, The Nautilus Group, with offices in Berkeley, has bought both entitled projects and is planning a redesigned single project to cover both sites. The two projects together had been entitled for a little over 200 residential apartment units. RCPC will be discussing the proposed project with the developer and plans to invite the developer to a Town Hall meeting for the Rockridge public once the plans become more solidified. Nautilus plans to submit a pre-application to the City next month.

The Future of College Avenue
Last month's Town Hall presentation by Oakland Planning Director Rachel Flynn has opened up discussion of what the future holds for College Avenue as a retail and commercial center. While she noted that Oakland considers College Avenue one of its success stories, local retailers at the meeting revealed a lot of concern about its continued success and even viability in this age of Internet purchases. The Land Use Committee will hold discussions over the coming months about threats and opportunities the changing environment presents for College Avenue. It will also consider what, if any, changes in Rockridge zoning are needed to keep Rockridge a thriving business and residential area. Please join the discussion by attending land use committee meetings over the coming months..