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Whole Foods, AT&T Meeting Set for April 24

Mark your calendars and get ready. Two of Albany's most complex issues will be back before the Planning & Zoning Commission later this month. For alerts when we write about the Whole Foods project, click the "Keep me posted" button below this story.

[Editor's Note: We're republishing this item, initially posted Friday, to catch up with the post-spring-break crowd.]

On April 24, the city's planning commission will consider moving forward on two major projects: the Whole Foods and senior housing developments planned by the University of California in , and a new AT&T wireless facility proposed on San Pablo Avenue. 

The city sent out the following notice Friday afternoon about the University Village development meeting:

Notice of Public Hearing of the City of Albany Planning & Zoning Commission

Date & Time: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 7:30 pm
Location of Meeting: City Hall, 1000 San Pablo Avenue
Applicant: University of California
Subject of Meeting: 1030-1130 San Pablo Avenue (corner of San Pablo Avenue and Monroe Street)

The 6.3-acre project site in University Village is located to the northwest and southwest of the Monroe Street/San Pablo Avenue intersection. The applicant seeks approval to construct a new 55,000 sq ft grocery store at the north side of Monroe and a mixed-use retail space and approximately 175 unit senior living project on the south side of Monroe. This public hearing is for the Commission to consider making a recommendation to the City Council regarding a proposed zoning map amendment, planned unit development, development Agreement, and an application for Density Bonus to reduce parking requirements, and change in parkland dedication requirements. 

If you would like more information about this application, please contact the Albany Community Development Department at 1000 San Pablo Avenue, 510 -528-5760 or email Jeff Bond at jbond@albanyca.org. Plans are available for review at http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=521.

Landlords: please forward notice to tenants.

**

Bond said Friday afternoon that this meeting will be the "next step" for the University Village project. Council members directed city staff in January to related to parking and open space requirements, among other things. 

"We've done that," said Bond. "We're ready to show that to the community." 

He said the draft development agreement will be ready for everyone to see next week. The agreement, he said, gives the university assurances that the city will abide by its commitments about fees and approvals, and also summarizes various policy issues related to the project. 

"It details the policy issues and concerns council members had," said Bond, in part related to the and other aspects of the plans. 

The development agreement will give the university a five-year period in which to move forward. After five years, if the project hasn't happened, the city would be able to revisit the matter. 

"It's a promise for five years," Bond said. "It gives the university the assurance they can move forward." 

CELL FACILITY ALSO ON THE AGENDA

Bond said planning commissioners also could vote on a wireless facility AT&T would like to build on the roof of a building at 1035 San Pablo Ave. Read more about that project here.

The antenna application has been under consideration and in development for several years as the company, planning commissioners and community members have struggled to find a solution that would work for everyone involved. 

(For those marking their calendars for important meetings this month, Safeway also plans to hold a to discuss new designs for its Solano Avenue project.)

For alerts when we write about the Whole Foods project, click the "Keep me posted" button below this story. 

If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at albany@patch.com.

Sharon Bonnifield April 14, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I hope this doesn't happen. Whole foods is expensive and we don't need more people moving into Albany. We already have to much traffic. I hope this fails.
Preston Jordan April 14, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I am not sure if the presentation included with the article is for the upcoming or a past meeting. It includes opposition to providing motorist-separated cycling path along San Pablo (a "cycle track"). Albany Strollers & Rollers (AS&R) is advocating for this facility so people can ride directly to the Whole Foods. The current unrealistic plan shown in the presentation is for people to either ride across two lanes of traffic on San Pablo and turn left, get off and walk their bike on the sidewalk, or ride two blocks out of their way. With this plan, some people will choose to ride on the sidewalk directly to Whole Foods whether we want them to or not, setting up just the conflict with people walking the developer purports to want to avoid. The developer and staff have expressed concern about having a cycling path next to a sidewalk given loading and unloading from parallel parking and a bus stop. Interestingly, this concern never came up for the Buchanan path about to be built along Ocean View School/park, so why here and now? Also, other cities have not had a problem with cycletracks. Alameda built one with a middle school loading zone on one side and sidewalk on the other. You can see it in operation at http://tinyurl.com/7jbcgj6. The other concern expressed regards how a cycletrack would work with a bus stop. Vancouver has figured this out as shown at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pwkrueger/5133808625/.
Preston Jordan April 14, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Given the developers’ current opposition to a cycletrack, it is ironic the presentation goes on to quote complete streets as designing and operating an entire roadway with all users, including bicyclists, in mind. Provision of complete streets is one of the amenities the project is committed to providing in exchange for the zoning exceptions (such as building height) it seeks. Asking people cycling to get off and walk is not designing for and accommodating them. Beyond this current shortfall, the project design is not compliant with Mitigation Measure Global Climate Change-1 in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). On page 124 of Section IV, available at http://albanyca.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=9472, this Mitigation Measure states, “Provide bicycle lanes and/or paths, incorporated into the proposed street systems and connected to a community-wide network.” The closest “community-wide network” route is the combination of Dartmouth east of San Pablo and the Codornices Creek path to be built west of San Pablo. The current project plan does not include any “bicycle lanes and/or paths” connecting to this route, and so legally fails to meet the requirements of the EIR. Will the City of Albany hold the developer to the legal requirement in the EIR as well as the promised complete street amenity in exchange for granting zoning exceptions?
Emilie Raguso April 14, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I think the October presentation is the most recent one I have. Let me check with Kevin Hufferd about this.

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