Planning Commission Aug 6

Planning Commission Meeting August 6

The Planning Commission’s agenda  is revised to hear a presentation on the Final Supplemental Impact Report (EIR) this Thursday, Aug. 6th at 6:30 pm.
Response to comments:
The responses to comments (link above) attempts to minimize the environmental, safety and traffic impacts of SunCal’s plan.  To the degree you can, cite the sections of this document in your comments to the Planning Commission.
Here’s the address to submit comments and how to join and participate in the meeting:

Background: SunCal’s plan is a public land grab and terrible plan for Richmond

A.    The sale to SunCal of public land and their proposed housing development are driven by an illegal backroom settlement deal that is being litigated in federal court. 
Including a housing development in the deal, requires a public vote because it’s a land use decision; voting behind closed doors to avoid public input/opposition amounted to backroom zoning. 
B.   If approved, SunCal’s plan would transfer Ohlone and public land to a luxury housing developer without Ohlone or public consent. 
B.    The SunCal plan would transfer immeasurable public wealth and opportunity for Richmond to private profit for a few powerful men and out-of-town corporations.  
C.    The SunCal project will cost Richmond taxpayers millions/year.  If the project fails, it could bankrupt the City.  The City is not protected from the financial risks.  Additional taxes and financial risks to our General Fund should not be borne by people who are struggling, and certainly not to subsidize a luxury development. 
D.   The Community Plan is the plan preferred by participants in the City’s Pt Molate public planning process and years of public input.  It keeps public land in public hands and has enormous public benefits for the people of Richmond, the region and future generations.  

Talking Points

(1) Going forward with SunCal’s plan, a project with conditions that cannot be mitigated, is illegal and irresponsible.  This is especially true when the City has an alternative plan, the Community Plan (option D in the Environmental Impact Report), that is proposed and analyzed, and does not have these unmitigable problems.
—Significant fire danger cannot be mitigated (EIR, p. 2-52 through 2-600) 
—Significant traffic impacts cannot be mitigated (EIR, p. 2-58 through 2-60)
—Waste water mitigation depends on Chevron (p. 2-56 (MM 4.8-3 Chevron cooperative agreement)
— The proposed project violates federal, state, regional and City regulations and guidance for protecting habitat and limiting GHG emission increases.—
(SunCal has a retainer of $900,000 for Downy Brand, LLC, a law firm that prides itself on successfully fighting and finding ways around state and federal law, to defend the inadequate their Environmental Impact Report. This, instead of investing in a proper Environmental Impact Report and a project that respects and protects human and environmental health!)
(2) The proposed project violates the General Plan and City planning documents that guide the development of Pt Molate.  
Public access, 70% open space, active recreation and protecting biodiversity and sacred/cultural heritage sites are core elements in our General Plan and city documents that guide the development of Pt Molate. 
—70% open space.  The SunCal plan is to grade 60% of the property.  They will desroy the rare ecosystems.  Open space consists of the areas too toxic or too steep to build on.  Their maps show at best 60% open space if you count, as they do, the spaces between buildings, around water tanks, utilities and sewerage infrastructure, and a roadway. All the open space will be owned by the home owners associations, except the Bay Trail and a small surrounding park. 
—Public access. The SunCal plan has no truly public access outside of the Bay Trail and a small surrounding park.  The “public area” between the residents and ridge line is exaggerated in size on SunCal’s maps, is extremely steep to the extend of being inaccessible to most people, and will be owned by the home owners associations.
— Active recreation.  The SunCal Plan has no active recreation.  Active recreation is included in all the planning documents for Pt Molate.  Richmond has incredible athletic talent but not enough soccer and other sports fields to train and compete. 
—Cultural Heritage Site recognition and preservation.  SunCal’s plan will destroy Ohlone Shellmounds.
—Rare Biodiversity.   SunCal’s plan will destroy CA native habitats that are already 97% destroyed on the CA coast and the healthiest eelgrass beds in the SF Bay.  According to Dr. Kathryn Boyer, who studies the ~100 acres of Pt Molate eelgrass meadows, the SunCal plan will ultimately destroy these eelgrass them, impacting Bay health and commercial fisheries.
3)     Encourage the Commission to not rush to a vote.  The timeline pressure is a tactic to force a Planning Commission and Council vote in the casino developer and SunCal’s favor.  The settlement deadlines have already been changed.  They can be changed by mutual agreement by the parties to the settlement or by the judge who certified the agreement between the parties. 
(4)   It is time for the City Council to base its decisions for Point Molate on what makes sense for Richmond, what the people of Richmond want, and what will provide tax-dollar revenue. 

Support the Community Plan

Develop the Winehaven Historic District to provide needed employment and wealth building opportunities for Richmond residents.  Surround it with a world-class regional park that protects rare native habitat and Ohlone sacred sites, the remaining Chinese Shrimp Camp artifacts, provides needed sports fields and outdoor recreation for Richmond families and the region, and revenue for Richmond’s General Fund. Pt Molate is in the East Bay Regional Park District’s Master Plan, and they have $4.2 million for Pt Molate. This plan keeps public land and decision making in public hands. 
The Community Plan grew out of years of public input, the overwhelming majority of public input at the City’s Pt Molate Public Planning meetings, and surveys done by UC Berkeley graduate students in City planning and the Pt Molate Community Advisory Committee.
The Community Plan is in the public interest:
— Consistent with the General Plan and other planning documents that guide the development of the Pt Molate, and it does not violate the settlement.
—Provides needed employment and wealth building opportunities for Richmond residents.
— Provides tax dollar revenue for Richmond’s General Fund.
—Protects Ohlone sacred Shellmounds and  Chinese Shrimp Camp’s remaining artifacts.
—Provides sports fields, outdoor recreation for Richmond families and the region, —Provides cultural and educational opportunities for Richmond and the region.
—Protects Pt Molate’s rare biodiversity and eelgrass beds.
—Protects climate mitigating carbon sinks.
—Provides a world-class regional park for Richmond youth and families, the region and future generations.
The Planning Commission will meet again on August 17th.  Please also write and speak to the Planning Commission on August 17th.  If they certify SunCal’s EIR and recommend the SunCal project to the City Council on Aug 17th, the City could sell Pt Molate to SunCal as early as September 1st. 

Check our website for updates: Follow us on Facebook, twitter, instagram and tumblr.  Follow ptmolate4all on facebook.  (Don’t follow pointmolate4all.  That’s SunCal’s PR page.)

Questions? Comments?  Want to volunteer?
Thank you!
—Pam Stello
Pt Molate Alliance Co-Chair

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