The Design Review Board is doing an excellent job. Let’s support them.
Here’s what’s happening: Richmond City staff are asking the Design Review Board (DRB) to approve the Planned Area (PA) plan and the Planned Area District rezoning for SunCal’s plan and make that recommendation to the Planning Commission this Wednesday before the City has published the Pt Molate Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
City staff, with funding from SunCal, is presenting SunCal’s over-sized project (grading plan, above) to the Design Review Board before even the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been released to the Board and the public. Though the Board has requested the Draft EIR and expert comments on the report and further information from SunCal on the project, the board did received this information at their last meeting, and as far as we knowthey have not yet received these documents.
One of the purposes of the EIR is to describe impacts to land use and planning and describe an overall environmentally-superior alternative for this site. SunCal’s project is fundamentally in conflict with the Richmond’s General Plan. To enable a Planned Area plan to be considered, the project must be consistent with the General Plan, and it is not.
Here is a side-by-side of the development footprint for Pt Molate in Richmond’s General Plan (p. 3.97), which is the City’s guide to development of the site, and SunCal’s proposed development footprint in the Environmental Impact Report.
City planning documents that guide the development of the Pt Molate include 70% open space. Yet, the SunCal plan has, at best, about 60% open space (if you count space between buildings, water tanks, space for utilities and sewerage infrastructure, sites too toxic and/or steep to build on), limited public access outside of the Bay Trail, no active recreation, destruction of the most biodiverse areas, and does not protect the Ohlone sacred sites or the Chinese Shrimp Camp. Public access and recreation and protecting biodiversity and sacred/cultural heritage sites are core elements in our General Plan and all the City documents that guide the development of Pt Molate.
The City’s process for Pt. Molate is being politically rushed by a settlement agreement, one which is being litigated because land use decisions regarding Pt. Molate, decisions that are required to be done through a public process, were decided in a Council closed session. We believe SunCal is delaying the provision of project information the DRB has requested because they are depending on the pressure of the settlement timeline to force a vote in their favor. However, the settlement deadlines have already been changed three times. They can be changed by mutual agreement by the parties to the settlement or by the judge who certified the agreement between the parties.
At their last meeting, the DRB expressed the sentiment that they would not approve any project unless the materials were complete, so that policy should extend to the Point Molate project as well.
Pleasesupport the DRB’s request for the Environmental Impact Report and comments and other any additional documents they have requested.
We recommendthe Design Review Board make a recommendation on SunCal’s Planned Area (PA) project after it is informed by findings of impacts, mitigations, and an environmentally superior project from a Final and Certified Environmental Impact Report. The Board needs to be able to see the full design, not a draft of what might be the final plan. The current presentation materials have no real specifics as to what will be approved and built.
We also ask the DRB to make an alternative project recommendation that incorporates the comments and many questions and concerns from the public and the Board’s many hours of work analyzing the proposed project for one that is more in keeping with the environmentally-superior project in the Draft EIR, the Community Plan.
The Community Plan develops the Winehaven Historic District to provide needed employment and wealth building opportunities for Richmond residents, and cultural and educational opportunities, and surrounds it with a world-class regional park that protects rare native habitat, Ohlone sacred sites, and the Chinese Shrimp Camp and provides needed sports fields and outdoor recreation for Richmond families and the region, and revenue for Richmond’s General Fund.
The Community Plan is consistent with the overwhelming majority of public input at the City’s Pt. Molate Public Planning meetings, input that was ignored by the City, and it is consistent with Richmond’s General Plan and other City planning documents that guide the development of the site.
Questions? Want to volunteer? Info@ptmolatealliance.org
Follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram @ptmolatealliance. We’re updating our website. Check this weekend for updates and action alerts.
Also follow facebook.com/ptmolate4all (Don’t follow pointmolate4all. That’s SunCal’s PR page.)