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City Council Denies Appeals to Stop University Development Project

ALBANY, Ca: San Pablo Avenue at Monroe Street. Map Courtesy: Google Maps
ALBANY, Ca: San Pablo Avenue at Monroe Street. Map Courtesy: Google Maps
By Bay City News—

The Albany City Council voted unanimously this week to deny two appeals of a commercial development project by the University of California at Berkeley that includes senior housing and a grocery store.
 
The project, which was approved 4-0 by the city's planning commission in December, includes 175 units of senior housing, a Sprout's Farmers Market and two other retailers on 6.3 acres of university-owned land along San Pablo Avenue at Monroe Street, near the University Village student-housing complex.
 
Two appeals were filed on the project, one by Albany Housing Advocates and Amber Whitson and one by Albany resident Ed Fields, according to a report by city planning staff.
 
After the council's vote Wednesday night, Albany Mayor Peggy Thomsen said the city is eager for the project to go forward.
 
Thomsen said in a statement, "The city has been reviewing the proposed project for over seven years, working hard to ensure the project meets the needs of our community and blends with our small town ambience while furthering economic sustainability within our region."
 
She said the development "will serve as a southern gateway to Albany, providing local services within walking distance for our community and new housing to further enhance our urban village by the Bay."
 
The project site is adjacent to another site known as the Gill Tract, another plot of university-owned land that's used by students and faculty of the College of Natural Resources for agricultural research.
 
The Gill Tract has been the site of protests the past two years by Occupy the Farm activists who say the tract should be used for sustainable community farming. Activists fear that the university will also develop that land but the university has said it doesn't have any development plans for that site and will continue to use it for agricultural research.
 
Albany officials said the development team has agreed to include improvements such as pedestrian and bicycle accessibility, green building designs and integrating the project with the surrounding area.
 
The university has indicated that it will use some of the funds it receives from developing the site to continue doing agricultural research at the Gill Tract, according to city officials.
mc March 14, 2014 at 04:01 PM
Steve, On the March 5th meeting, at exactly 1hour 14min and 27 seconds, you stated: "I have been involved in ALL the meetings over the years." I did listen, you did lie. I do care about MY community too. I am an Albany taxpayer. I am not an outsider. Just because I disagree with you, does not mean I am an "occupier". Initially the other retail was along San Pablo Ave because that is what our city's regulations required.They shifted the retail in part to justify the zoning changes. These shifts do not align with Albany's codes. I am certain that "Occupy" have NOT been give 5 acres north of Gilman. Had you really been attending meetings over the years like I have, then you surely would have at least had some basic facts.
dorthy manser March 14, 2014 at 04:37 PM
Wow. Ironic. The occupiers and their allies have been lying through their teeth for a couple of years now about just about every single aspect of the Gill tract, from the first moment they pointed to where they were planting their fake farm and said it was going to be paved over. We listened to them too.
dorthy manser March 14, 2014 at 05:47 PM
And mc, just because you have strong feelings, or have attended a lot of meetings, doesn't mean you get to have your way. You hold a minority opinion. Candidates who championed your position were trounced in the last election, and the occupiers have managed to alienate most people who might have been sympathetic to their goals . So go ahead and put out your opinion, but don't be surprised if you are ignored, especially if you can't manage to be minimally civil.
Laney Russell March 14, 2014 at 11:11 PM
"Candidates who championed your position were trounced in the last election…"=======Indeed they were and here is a little refresher course for Maureen and her troublemaking friends: Peggy Thomsen - 4060, Peter Maas - 3156, Michael Barnes - 2966, Nick Pilch - 2908, Tod Abbot - 2552, Sheri Spellwoman - 1672, Ulan Mcknight - 1089.======== Don't forget that the two candidates at the very bottom had the momentum of their recent criminal activity on UC property to help boost their numbers though they did try to backtrack and whitewash their activity and allegiances once they finally realized they were not being met with a community of applause and open arms. Had they been completely honest about their OTF participation and their beliefs in general up till the end, they would have suffered a much worse beating at the polls.======= Maureen, I do disagree with those who say you should behave yourself at the meetings because even though are slow to catch on, and may never actually achieve a basic understanding of the detrimental consequences of your actions, it's obvious to me that every time you behave like a spoiled brat, you lose respect, you lose support and you win converts to the side opposite of yours which consists of sanity, reason and true community spirit.
dorthy manser March 15, 2014 at 07:22 PM
And that's exactly what is wrong with OTF, Transition Albany, Friends of the Farm, the Ruckus Society, Keep Albany Local, and the Berkeley academics who inspired this fiasco. They are so sure of their moral purity that they will stoop to any lie to get what they want. The fact that they would accuse of others of lying is hilarious. I can only hope that the next time they try one of their fake publicity stunt "direct actions", they end up paying a price for it. As in: a hefty fine for everyone involved, expulsion from the University for the pampered trust fund U.C. students, and a loss of tenure for the professors who put this all in motion. But don't hold your breath.

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