February Minutes

Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council Membership Meeting
February 5, 2018

Police officer report
Request for support opposing move of methadone clinic to San Pablo Dam Road
Jim Hanson on Pt. Molate
Request for letter of support from neighbors with a building project.

Officers Present:
Seren Pendelton-Knoll, President
Nina Smith, Secretary
Rock Brown, Treasurer

1. Officer Joe DeOrion reported on December and January crime statistics and took questions. He encouraged us as taxpayers to pressure the City to increase Police Department staffing. They are holding at 177 and need about 210.
2. There was a quick announcement by Laura from El Sobrante re a methodone clinic proposed to be moved from 1313 Cutting to 3563 San Pablo Dam Road. The location is by residential properties and right near a pre-school. She is asking for support from local Richmond residents to oppose this move. Contact the City, Mayor Butt, the Council, Planning Department. The neighbors also have concerns about traffic on an already congested road. Most of the clinic’s business is early in the morning when the traffic is already very congested on that street. It’s in a 90 feet swath of land that is Richmond surrounded by San Pablo on one side and El Sobrante on the other. The neighbors feel that there are more appropriate locations. Because the El Sobrante residents are unincorporated they have less political clout. There was a brief discussion of more reasonable locations for such a facility. She passed around flyers. The County had recommended 7 different locations and the City shot them down.
3. Jim Hanson on Point Molate: Jim introduced himself. He is a landscape architect who lives on Sierra Ave. He served on the City’s Pt. Molate Citizen’s Advisory Committee and was chair for a year. Pt. Molate can be accessed by driving towards the San Rafael Bridge on 580 and taking the last exit. The City’s Beach Park is open and the entire Pt. Molate property is beyond it. Jim shared an audio visual presentation including the history of Pt. Molate He explained the background of the continuing dispute with Upstream over the City’s decision not to build the Casino that was originally contracted for. The City has been proceeding with clean up at the former naval fuel depot. The Navy gave the City $28 million for clean-up and about $3 million is left. So far $13 million has been spent on actual clean up and $5 million has gone to the engineering company that filed reports with Air Board. Mayor Butt disbanded the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. The clean up is not complete. The issue today is that the City is currently in the process of zoning Pt. Molate. Pt. Molate has never been zoned. Jim explained about a community centered design, advocating for this approach to such the land use decisions. The former Citizen’s Advisory Committee is advocating for such a community-centered process. In November 2017 Councilmembers Willis and Choi proposed community-centered meetings to involve the whole City in the planning process. The San Pablo harbor down the road from Pt. Molate has houseboats where a small community has lived for years. This property was purchased by 3 couples about a year ago. It’s unclear what will happen to the people living in the houseboats. Jim showed maps and photos of Pt. Molate. The hill is solid eucalyptus. The structures are being minimally maintained. Jim talked about some of the intact animal, plant and bird life still evident in the south valley portion of Pt. Molate. Jim pointed out that there is very poor access to Pt. Molate, especially during the hours of the commute. This is a concern when considering planning because of issues with police, fire and medical emergency response. A lot of the infrastructure (electrical, water, sewage service, communication, roads) were all been shut down when the Navy left. There is a major issue of shoreline erosion, especially at the Beach Park. There’s a Bay wide planning process about what to do about the shoreline.

Jim continued: explaining different land use ideas for the area: 9 different concept plans for Pt. Molate have been developed over the years. Some of them are outdated but there are good ideas. The area to the north where Winehaven is would make sense for some development because there already is a footprint. The City’s agreement with the Navy agreement requires the City to do some kind of economic development but Jim believes that the Navy only required that there be the same amount of employment that existed when the Navy turned it over. There was discussion of the proposals to build housing and how dangerous that is because of the proximity of the Chevron refinery and the very limited access and egress. These are the issues that need community input.

There was extended discussion about the process for soliciting informed public input into the zoning process. Some of the points made included:
– the area should be open to the community so that everyone can see the entire property, especially to get into the hills;
– after such a tour there could be an open meeting in a community setting to develop input for the City Planning process;
– The City Council is meeting now in closed session with the attorneys over the litigation with Upstream and there is pressure to settle which could include giving some kind of development right to Upstream. The Council members need out input.
– Next month’s RHNC meeting will have a representative of the Planning Department present.

Back when the original proposal for a casino was made Chevron offered to buy the property and turn it over to the East Bay Regional Parks.

There was additional discussion of the dangers because of proximity to Chevron refinery.

Community Planning Meetings:
The mayor proposed 3 weeknight drop-in meetings. Jim and others are proposing 2 Saturday community overview meetings combined with tours through the property. There’s a debate going on between these two approaches. Can we do both?

Jim suggests what we can do:
– Comment at the next Planning Commission meeting about what we want for community planning meetings and to inform people about the issue and what is going on currently.
– Go for a tour.
– Get involved.

The RHNC membership present took a vote on 3 different options for how the public input process should be organized. The results were as follows:
a. evening drop-in meetings : zero votes
b. part-day Saturday meeting with tour: 2 votes
c. combination of the two: 15

Pt. Molate is part of the regional parks master plan so the regional parks have set aside money for a park there.

A motion was made and seconded for the correspondence secretary to write a letter to the Planning Commission communicating the outcome of the vote on public process. The motion passed 13-0.

4. Architect Maurice Levitch presented on 5626 Marin Avenue: neighbor wants to build a single-story residence on separate, currently undeveloped lot behind their home. 3 bedroom 2 bath new house with attached garage.
Motion to write a letter of support was made and seconded. Passed unanimously.

5. Genevieve Paster-Cohn, manager of the office emergency services available to make a presentation.