Saturday, September 5, 2009

Update on College Avenue Safeway

Below is a letter from Elisabeth Jewel regarding the status and an update on the proposed College Avenue Safeway. As many of you may remember, there has been somewhat of an uproar generated by a small number of residents about the proposal, which includes completely rebuilding the Safeway by moving away from the typical suburban model to something more urban and urbane. The proposed design includes eliminating much of the surface parking and the gas station and replacing it with retail outlets that front along College Avenue. Critics claim that the height and bulk are out of scale with the neighborhood. We disagree. We believe Safeway's proposal goes a long way in eliminating this aesthetically blighted development.
Our analysis of the proposed development shows that it can indeed be approved by the City Planning Commission with a conditional use permit. The biggest issue we see is how traffic will be managed and mitigated. Otherwise, an upgraded Safeway would re-establish a relationship with the street by pushing retail outlets right up to the sidewalk, exactly the model that exits in Rockridge.


September 2, 2009

Dear Safeway Neighbors:

The rebuild of the Safeway at College and Claremont is moving forward and we wanted to update you on our progress.

Since our last public meeting at the Claremont Hotel in April, Safeway made a formal development application to the City of Oakland . The project you may have viewed at the April meeting is exactly what was submitted to the City. The development application has been “deemed complete” which opens the door for the city’s process to begin. The use permit applications and environmental documents are now being prepared for submittal before public hearings can be convened by the City of Oakland .

The next steps in the Oakland planning process are as follows:

An Initial Study is prepared by a Safeway’s consultant to analyze environmental issues. It will be available to the public 30 days before the Planning Commission meeting.

The Oakland Planning Commission will hold a public meeting in a few months. This meeting is called an EIR (Environmental Impact Report) Scoping Session for the purpose of deciding the scope of what environmental impacts the Safeway development may have both during and after construction. This meeting gives direction to Safeway’s team of consultants who will study traffic, noise, views, and other possible effects of the proposed development. The consultants will then take the time they need to research and prepare thorough reports on a variety of topics. The reports (a Draft Environmental Impact Report “DEIR”) will be available to the public for review and comment after completion.

The Planning Commission will then convene another meeting where the DEIR will be discussed. Input from the public and Commission will be analyzed by the consultants, who will then prepare a Final Environmental Impact Report (“FEIR”) which will be reviewed by city staff and the public and then presented to the Planning Commission, along with a presentation of the new Safeway on College. At that meeting the Commission will consider the environmental documents as well as vote to approve or deny the application for the proposed development. There will be many months between these meetings.

We are working to bring you a beautiful new store as quickly as possible and we appreciate your patience during this laborious process. Safeway’s purchase of the 76 gas station at the corner of the property will be complete in the next several months and we expect the station to close then. We will continue to update you as the city’s review of our development proposal moves forward. Please feel free to email me any questions you may have and be sure to check our website ( periodically for updates.

Elisabeth Jewel
Safeway Community Affairs Consultant

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