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Oakland Planning Commission approves Safeway plans

Rendering of a new pedestrian walk-way, part of the proposal for a revamped College Ave Safeway which was approved by Oakland Planning Commission this week. Photo: Lowney Architecture

On Wednesday, the Oakland Planning Commission unanimously certified the final EIR and approved Safeway’s proposed plans for its College Avenue store which sits on the Oakland-Berkeley border.

A statement released by Aroner, Jewel & Ellis Partners, who have been retained by Safeway, said the grocery store was “heartened by the commission’s support and their comments in support of the design, the size and the community benefit our proposal would convey on Rockridge.”

The statement continued: “The commission did not agree with the opponent’s assertions that our project violated zoning, or that traffic was unmitigatable. They did not buy arguments that the store would negatively affect the small merchants across the street, or that the EIR was in any way inadequate.”

The Commission’s decision is likely to be appealed by opponents of the project, possibly before it goes before Oakland City Council for final approval.

Berkeley’s City Council has made its opposition to the project clear. At its July 17 meeting, councilmembers were unanimous in raising objections to the scale of the proposed store and its potential impact on local traffic and air pollution. About 20 members of the public most of whom live near the site of the store, at the intersection of College and Claremont, also voiced their concerns.

Berkeley is powerless to stop the project going ahead. It has been offered funds from Safeway to mitigate the impact on traffic of the larger store. So far it has not accepted the money for fear it would send a tacit message of approval.

For more information, read the city’s documentation on the proposed mitigation agreement with Safeway and Safeway’s College Avenue website.

Related:
Berkeley unites in opposing Safeway project [07.18.12]
Berkeley City Council to hold hearing on Safeway project [09.20.11]
Locals protest scale, traffic of proposed Rockridge Safeway [08.01.11]
Safeway buys Berkeley’s Chimes Pharmacy, to consolidate [07.12.11]

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  • Anonymous

    You forgot: 
    opposition to Rogue Cafe

  • Jacob Lynn

    “Do you see anything in the comments on this post that would help the problems that would help the problems of crime, blight, drugs, liquor stores, lousy schools?”

    A nice, walkable neighborhood that attracts pedestrians to the streets.

  • Guest

    Don’t forget the library fiasco!!

  • The Sharkey

    Rogue was set up in an already-existing shed in a residential back yard – no development involved. Thus, opposition to Rogue would not be part of a list of incidents of Berkeley being anti-development.

  • Nick Taylor

    No one keeps any businesses from “remodeling,” it is only huge-scale multi-level, new parking structure buildings that require approval. If Safeway brought in all new surface treatments, tile flooring, shelving, signage, display cases, check out stands, boutique sections for flowers, bakery, etc. it would do wonders to improve people’s experience and their bottom line. But they refuse, because to do so would mean staying the same size footprint. And they want to exponentially increase the number of people shopping there. And that means an enlarged footprint. 

  • PragmaticProgressive

    quibble:  it’s not really accurate to say that they “want to exponentially increase the number of people shopping there.”  Or rather, they might want that, but it ain’t gonna happen.  Geometric growth corresponding to an increased footprint might be realistic, but exponential growth would mean growth that accelerates over time (cf. old hair product commercial: “and they told too friends, and so on, and so on…”).  That’s a pretty unlikely outcome.

  • Shannon A.

    Oh, look. A no-nothing NIMBY. Thankfully Oakland seems to pay them as little attention as they deserve.