Breaking: Neighbors, Safeway agree on College Ave. store

Safeway on College (via http://www.safewayoncollege.com)

This story was updated at 4:35 p.m. 

A mediation effort between Safeway and three community groups opposing aspects of the grocer’s College Avenue store has resulted in a resolution and new agreement, according to statements released this week.

As a result, final action on an appeal before the Oakland City Council set for Tuesday, Nov. 13, has been postponed until Dec. 18., according to a statement from Safeway.

Oakland city staff said at 4:30 p.m. that the hearing will still take place and community members will be allowed to speak, given the late notice, but that council members could announce tonight whether a decision will be postponed.

Neighborhood groups have suggested that their members attend the meeting to express support for the agreement. (Speaker cards can be filled out in advance. See meeting details here; see how to watch it live online here.) According to a city staffer, the item will not be discussed prior to 6:30 p.m.

According to an email sent out Monday night by Friends and Neighbors of College Avenue (FANS): “As of November 11, 2012, FANS, RCPC and BPOD [Berkeleyans for Pedestrian Oriented Development] have reached a tentative agreement with Safeway regarding the Safeway on College project. The terms of the agreement have not yet been finalized, but an agreement in principal has been reached. As we learn more, we will update our website.”

According to a neighbor, Safeway also sent out the following statement:

We are pleased to announce that, on November 8, 2012, representatives of Safeway and a coalition of Rockridge residents representing RCPC, FANS and BPOD participated in a mediation conducted by Oakland City Councilmember Jane Brunner regarding Safeway’s proposed project on College Avenue (the “Project”). At that mediation, the parties reached an agreement in principle to modify the Project. The primary changes to the project would include:
 
* Safeway store reduced to 45,500 square feet and placed at street level
* Sufficient parking on site for Safeway customers and patrons of new small shops.
* Parking on the roof, accessible via a ramp off College Avenue and a ramp off Claremont Blvd.
* Re-design of area near College/Claremont intersection to retail only (no sit-down restaurant). Retail shops reduced to 9,500 square feet.
 
The parties intend to work toward documenting the terms discussed at the mediation in a final, binding agreement. If such an agreement is reached, RCPC, BPOD and FANs would agree not to object to the revised project and project approvals. In order to allow sufficient time for the Parties to continue their efforts to structure a binding agreement to which all parties are amenable, the Parties have agreed to ask that the Oakland City Council continue to December 18, 2012 the hearing on the Project that currently is scheduled for today, Tuesday, November 13, 2012.  While the Oakland City Council may still allow public comment on the project this evening even if the formal hearing is continued to December 18, we prefer that our supporters hold any comments until the hearing that we hope will be held on December 18.  Thank you.

According to an email sent at 4:05 p.m. by FANS, the settlement reduces the size of the project by 8,000 sq. ft.  It moves the Safeway store to ground level, with screened rooftop parking, and opens up a pedestrian plaza east of 63rd Street between College and Claremont.

According to the FANS email, Safeway has agreed to eliminate the project’s parking deficit, and pay for residential permit parking within the surrounding two-block area: “There are numerous other benefits included in the settlement. They will be spelled out at tonight’s hearing.”

Representatives from involved neighborhood groups and Safeway have not been available for comment. Berkeleyside will update this story as more information becomes available.

Related:
Op-Ed: Why I support plans for the Safeway on College [11.12.12]
Revamped Safeway opens in heart of Gourmet Ghetto [10.05.12]
Oakland Planning Commission approves Safeway plans [07.27.12]
Berkeley Council 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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  • NAParish

    RCPC has sent out an email stating that the hearing is still on, and requesting that people attend the hearing and offer their support for the settlement.

  • emraguso

    OK I can add this to the post — thank you!

  • Andrew Doran

    My faith in humanity may be slightly restored. Successful mediation resulting in compromise? Wow, cool.

  • The Sharkey

    Hooray! now not only will the view of the hills still be almost entirely blocked, but now the parking lot on the roof of the building will add noise and give the building all the aesthetic beauty of an auto mall!

    /sarcasm

  • Completely_Serious

    “(no sit-down restaurant)”   Yeah, no one around here wants ANOTHER restaurant.  Sheesh.

  • Mbfarrel

    Does anybody think they got exactly what they wanted?

  • Mbfarrel

    Safeway that is.

  • Guest

    derp

  • franhaselsteiner

    Okay, what is your solution? 

  • Foo

     More parking and less pedestrian amenities. Sounds like everyone wins, as long as you drive a car.

  • The Sharkey

    The original plan sounded pretty good to me! Not perfect, but better than this.

  • John Holland

    This is pretty close to what I said I wanted, but now you have me doubting myself. I guess I should wait until I see the plans. Your description of the roof had the biggest impact.

  • The Sharkey

    If you want an idea of what a Safeway with a roof-level parking lot is like, check out the one in the Outer Sunset in San Francisco:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/safeway-san-francisco-11

  • John Holland

    Ew. Good find.

  • Nooneinparticular

    Indeed. Because that’s what Safeway will likely put in on College – a 35 year old dirty shop. Well done. 

  • The Sharkey

    You can only pretty up a concrete retaining wall around a roof-level parking lot so much.

    While the style of architecture will be different, the point is that by putting the parking on top of the building the structure will need to be 1.5 – 2 stories tall anyway and still block the view almost as much as the original design.

  • http://twitter.com/Osborneabit Fran Osborne

    Boycotting Safeway because of prop 37 anyway.