RCPC raising funds to pay Safeway EIR expenses

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Rockridge Community Planning Council is teaming up with FANS (Friends And Neighbors of College Avenue) to hire expert consultants to review and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Safeway’s 62,000 sq. ft. College Avenue Shopping Center.  The shopping center would replace Safeway’s existing 22,500 sq. ft. grocery store, which has served the area for forty years.

This Spring, thinking ahead, RCPC applied for and received a $10,000 matching grant from the Rose Foundation to help fund the legal and professional consultants who will guide the review and prepare comments on behalf of the local community.  However, that $10,000 is only available if it is matched by donations from the community.  That means you. 

Donations towards the consultant fund may be made by Paypal, using the button on the side of this page.  Donations may also be made by check.  Checks should be made out to:  “RCPC/Safeway Grant” and mailed to RCPC at:  4123 Broadway PMB 311, Oakland, CA 94611.

 RCPC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization, and all donations are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Any funds not used for the Safeway EIR consultants or related professional and legal expenses will be set aside to study environmental impacts of other future Rockridge development projects (e.g., the Rockridge Shopping Center expansion).

More About The Project

Safeway’s proposal would more than double the size of the existing store (from 22,500 K to 50,000 sq.ft.) It  would also add a group of “small shops” along College Avenue and on a new walkway between College and  Claremont, roughly along the rear of the lot now occupied by the Phillips 76 station that Safeway recently purchased and closed.  The proposal raises numerous environmental concerns, ranging from traffic and pedestrian and bicyclist safety to air and water quality to visual and land use impacts.  Many of these topics will require professional expertise to determine whether the DEIR accurately described the expected impacts and what can be done to mitigate them.  Also needed are comparative analyses for alternative project proposals, such as the 27,000 sq. ft. proposal put forward by a groups of local architects.  RCPC and FANS are currently identifying consultants with the appropriate expertise.

More About FANS

In addition to RCPC, FANS includes the Claremont Elmwood Neighborhood Association, the Rockridge District Association, Concerned Neighbors of the College Ave., Safeway, and informal groups of residents and merchants neighboring the project site.  Ironically, the groups were originally brought together as part of a “stakeholder process” that Safeway initiated in the fall of 2008.  Safeway abandoned the stakeholder process when it found the stakeholders were critical of its proposed development plans.  The groups, however, have stayed together, united by their feeling that Safeway’s plans don’t fit into the College Avenue area.

The DEIR is expected to be released in the next couple of months for a 45 day public  review and comment period, including a public hearing before the Oakland Planning Commission.