Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Authors' readings to benefit the SPLC

   POINT RICHMOND - A series of readings by writers featured in Speak and Speak Again (a resistance anthology published by Pact Press) will be doing free readings in the Bay Area in the wake of the Charlottesville attacks and the double-digit rise in hate crimes in California.

     The readings a fund raiser for the Southern Poverty Law Center. All book sales proceeds will be donated to the SPLC.

     The Point Richmond event will be at Kaleidoscope Coffee Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Other events will be at Book Passage (Tuesday, Sept. 5, 7 p.m.) and A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland (Thursday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.).

   The writers who will be presenting include:

Laurie Ann Doyle, author of World Gone Missing and writing instructor at UC Berkeley:
Stephen D. Gutierrez, American Book Award winner and teacher at Cal State East Bay
Lily Iona MacKenzie teaches writing at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute of Lifelong Learning and is author of All This (a poetry collection), and two novels (Fling! and Curva Peligrosa). https://
Cheryl A. Ossola, poet, dance writer, teacher, and editor; debut novel forthcoming from Regal House Publishing.
Rob Watersjournalist and travel writer who writes about health, science, world culture and criminal justice:

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Temple Beth Hillel school starts Aug. 20

   HILLTOP - Temple Beth Hillel will begin its religious studies school Sunday, August 20.
     The school offers an exploration of Jewish history, culture, holidays, customs and Hebrew from toddlers (2 1/2) through Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation and beyond, according to Marilyn Hertzberg.
     The classes begin at 9:30 a.m. with a special free class for toddlers (2 1/2 through four years old) beginning at 10 a.m.

     Parents and children are welcome to visit the school, meet the teachers and students, participate in classroom activities and learn more about the religious school's educational programs.

     For enrollment, more information, or to plan a school visit here are the contacts: 
    Temple Beth Hillel is located at 801 Park Central (I-80 Hilltop Exit), Richmond 94803.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Plunge West Project fundraiser a success

POINT RICHMOND - The July 15 fund-raiser for the Plunge West Project was a great success, organizer Maryn Hurlbut reports.

"Our cash gate was better than $1400. + advance sales that amount to over an additional $2000," Hurlbut said.  "This, plus our existing funds allow us to begin the construction phase of the Plunge West Project."

Hurlbut said etched pavers can still be purchased online or by sending a request directly to her at this email address: Maryn Hurlbut.

A story with more details about the Plunge West Project that was published prior to the event can be found here: Take The Plunge

Friday, July 14, 2017

Paramount TV comes to Point Richmond

Special to The Point
Story and photos by Laura Paull

Point Richmond residents out and about early Sunday July 9 found the town center and Ferry Point tunnel blocked off by orange cones, police cars, and lots of strangers standing around.
The reason? 
Paramount Television was filming scenes for the second season of Thirteen Reasons Why, a Netflix dramatic series  popular with the young set. It is based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix.
Although email and other communications from the production company had led some to locals to imagine they'd see a motorcycle chase scene through the Ferry tunnel, the action mostly entailed two young actors on an old green Vespa putt-putting through the tunnel at the usual speed. 
As is the way of Hollywood filming, it took hours of preparation just to get those few shots. Many curious Point Richmond folks stopped and watched for a while, then moved on.
When the second season begins in March 2018  Point residents will have to wait to find out when the ferry tunnel shot will appear.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Richmond Planning Director outlines housing & other projects for PRBA

   POINT RICHMOND - The City of Richmond's Planning Director presented an overview of housing, the Richmond General Plan and a variety of other projects in Point Richmond and the surrounding environs when he spoke to the Point Richmond Business Association June 29.
     Richard Mitchell's presentation was given at the PRBA's monthly luncheon, held at the Up and Under Restaurant. (A sound recording of his full remarks can be found at the end of this story.)

     Mitchell gave updates on the several projects either under construction, approved but not yet building and others still in the application/approval process.
     The biggest of those - 316-unit Terminal One - is in the process of doing some environmental remediation, he said.
    "Hopefully by this time next year they will be starting to move the dirt relative to the development itself," Mitchell said.
     Mitchell also said that that new Richmond-to-San Francisco ferry - scheduled to begin service in early 2018 - will have a big impact.
     "The ferry is a game changer if we handle it right," he said.
     Handling it right means ensuring there is adequate ridership for the ferry to continue.

     In response to a question about the traffic expected to be generated by all the new housing , Mitchell said initially there will be issues to be dealt with.
     But he added that he believes the way people use automobiles is changing. He cited the impact of services like Uber and Lyft, among other considerations.
     And he said not to rely too heavily on traffic studies.
     "Traffic counts don't ever come up to the perceptions we have of traffic impacts," he said.

     Mitchell's full comments - including the questions and answers - can be heard by clicking on the video link below.

(Sound recording by Sylvia S. Fox)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Presentation on Point Richmond housing projects at Pt. Richmond business luncheon

   POINT RICHMOND - The City of Richmond's Director of Planning and Building will give an update Thursday at the Pt. Richmond Business Association luncheon on the status of four Point Richmond housing projects either currently approved, under construction, or in the application process.
   The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Up and Under restaurant upstairs board room. Discussion start at noon.
    Director Richard Mitchell is expected to talk about the already approved Terminal One and Shea Homes Waterline projects, a proposed project by Las Vegas-based New West for Seacliff Drive and the nearly completed project adjacent to Mechanics Bank in the Pt. Richmond Business District.

A question and answer interview with the architect of that business district project can be found here: Interview with David Trachtenberg
Apartments under construction adjacent to Mechanics Bank (Photo by Laura Paull)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Take 'the Plunge' at Sat., July 15 celebration

   POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - A party & fundraiser for the final steps in completion of restoration of the Plunge campus will be held Saturday, July 15.
    Events begin at 2 p.m. with ticket sales, kicking off a series of fun events that run well into the evening, concluding with a movie.
    The funds collected for the event will allow the Plunge West Project team to break ground on the west side of the building for a bocce ball court, new walkway, side and back gardens.

    The project will also include a sustainability teaching garden and a butterfly habitat, Maryn Hurlbut said.
    "The walkway will be made with etched pavers that you can buy right now," she said. "Your family and business can be immortalized by ordering your paver right now."
    Etched large pavers cost $275 each.
    The dinner is being provided by SalutĂ©, Hotel Mac Restaurant, Up and Under, and Assemble with kid pizza by Raymond's. Adult dinners are $15. Kid's dinners are a $5 donation. Dinner includes a movie with popcorn. Dessert is being provided by Brezo.
    Beer and wine are available for purchase but not included in the ticket price.  
   To purchase the pavers and tickets go to:

    "Please print/save your receipt and bring it with you for entrance to the dinner and movie," Hurlbut said.

    "And please support this highly requested town improvement by buying your tickets right now. With everyone's help, groundbreaking will happen in July."

    For more information, call  510-237-6880

The Plunge Garden Celebration Program on July 15th kicks off at 2 pm with check in and free passes for a swim at either the Plunge (2-4 PM) or the Richmond Swim Center at any of their scheduled swim times.
At 3 p.m., there will be an opening magic act, face painting, fun photo op and music will continue throughout the day.  There will also be a special “no littering” sign drawing contest with awards!
At 4:30 Richmond Mayor Tom Butt will announce the winners of his Second Annual Garden Contest.
At 5:30 the dinner and a movie part of the program begins with appetizers, beer, wine and soft drinks being served behind the Plunge Building in the Picnic Garden Area.
At 6;30 p.m. dinner will follow in the Picnic Garden Area provided by Salute, Assemble, The Mac Restaurant and Up & Under.  Dessert will be provided by Brezo.
At 8:00, the evening entertainment starts with more magic and surprises.
At 8:30, everyone will settle into their own lawn chairs (or blankets) on the two tennis courts to watch a movie displayed on the back of the Plunge Building.
More details will be announced during the rest of June. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Celebration at Temple Beth Hillel in Hilltop honors service of Rabbi Dean Kertesz

RICHMOND - Temple Beth Hillel held a special celebration last month honoring Rabbi Dean Kertesz for his 10 years of service.

    Approximately 100 people attended offering tributes to Kertesz, including Michael Cohen president of the congregation and Holocaust survivor Sam Genirberg.

   The evening included a potluck dinner, numerous tributes to the rabbi, Israeli folk dancing, singing - and a Havdalah service.

    Kertesz is the son of European refugees, grew up in El Cerrito and still lives in the family home there.

    He graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon and joined a kibbutz in Israel for several years. He and his wife Carla Cassler have a daughter and son.

    When the post of rabbi came open in 2006, Kertesz was selected from a large field of more experienced candidates.

    "His decades of life experience, work with Jewish organizations, relaxed intelligence and desire to serve this community made him the winning candidate," a Temple Beth Hillel member said.

Cantor Fran Burgess leads students in song at the celebration

PRNC to hear updates on parking and proposed Bottoms Quarry development

   POINT RICHMOND - An update on revised plans for New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas' proposed housing project off Seacliff Drive will be considered Wednesday at the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council.

     The meeting is open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in the Point Richmond Community Center on Washington Avenue.
New West Homes project site

     The 270-unit project has been discussed at several PRNC meetings, including a special meeting in mid-March. At that meeting numerous Point residents asked questions about the height of the buildings, traffic impacts and safety concerns about ingress and egress for the project off Seacliff.

     Residents also questioned whether rezoning the land from recreational use to residential was the best use of the property.

    A link to the March 16 story and photos is here: Bottoms Quarry project concerns.

   The PRNC is also expected to hear a presentation by Denee Evans of the City of Richmond about proposals to redo parking and make Washington Avenue and Park Place one-way streets.

   The parking presentation will be one of the first items of business. The proposed Bottoms Quarry development is on the agenda at 8:10 p.m.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bagel brunch May 21 to feature dramatic reading of Ibsen's 'An Enemy of the People'

   RICHMOND - The Sunday morning bagel brunch May 21 at Temple Beth Hillel will feature a staged reading of the famous play An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen.
     The brunch begins at 10:15 a.m. Introductory comments and the reading of the play begin at 10:30 a.m. The play will conclude at 12:30 p.m.
     The brunch and play are open the public. A $15 per person donation is suggested.
     The play will be read by the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley and directed by Bay Area's Michael Cohen, who is also president of Temple Beth Hillel.
     The play is an adaption written by Arthur Miller in 1950, an exploration of what can happen to the truth when it stands face to face against the will of the people.
    Many critics over the years have called An Enemy of The People the first ecology play.
    The protagonist, Dr. Stockmann, is an idealistic Norwegian physician. He discovers that the waters in the popular baths of his hometown are contaminated. As he attempts to warn of an environmental disaster, he is shouted down by the people, worried about their livelihoods.
    They eventually label him "an enemy of the people."
    The story is filled with historical significance and has many implications for environmental issues we face today.
    Temple Beth Hillel is located in the Hilltop area of Richmond.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New parking committee, community monitoring stations report on tap for PRNC

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council will convene at 7 p.m. Wednesday to hear a long list of community reports including one on community monitoring stations presented by Aaron Winer of Veolia, the company that operates the Richmond wastewater facility.
     Winer's report will be an update about the network of six hydrogen sulfide monitors around the Point. Five are owned and managed by the City of Richmond. The sixth is owned and managed by Veolia.
    Winer will be available to answer questions at the meeting.
    There will also be discussion about establishing a new PRNC parking & transportation committee.
    The meeting will be held in the Point Richmond Community Center. The public is invited to attend.
    In addition to reports, PRNC President David Schoenthal will give a "State of the Point Address, " beginning at 7:10 p.m.

    The full agenda for the meeting - with specific times for when matters will be addressed - is below.

Friday, April 14, 2017

PRNC may establish traffic & parking committee, agrees to meet from 7-9 p.m

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council is considering establishing a special committee to review traffic and parking in The Point.
     At an April 3 meeting, PRNC board members decided to put the issue on the April 26 agenda for the full council. The proposed committee would report to the PRNC board and the community at large.
    How to join the committee and details about the committee's responsibilities are expected to be part of the discussion at the April 26 meeting.
   Traffic and parking issues have been discussed several times in recent PRNC sessions as concerns - both from the City of Richmond and residents - have been growing with the new housing developments that are likely to come on line in the next year.
    Terminal One, a 323-unit development at the south end of Dornan Drive (shown on the left in the diagram) and Shea Homes 60-unit complex at the south end of Seacliff Drive (on the right) have the green light from Richmond officials. Shea Homes is already beginning construction. Terminal One has had surveyors out for the past week.
    Traffic estimates from those two projects say there could be as many as additional 3,000 vehicle trips per-day generated, some of which will likely impact parking in the downtown business district.
   Another complex that will add to the area's traffic burden - if it wins city approval - would be the 270-unit Bottoms Quarry project proposed by New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas, Nevada. It would be built off Seacliff Drive close to Canal Boulevard.
    New West officials say they won't know how many vehicles the development will add to the traffic count until a full traffic analysis is conducted as part of the environmental impact report process.

Earlier Meeting Time for PRNC

   The PRNC board unanimously agreed this month to roll back the starting time for future PRNC meetings from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. each month.
    The new beginning time starts with the Wednesday, April 26 meeting at the Community Center in Point Richmond.
   "The board felt that starting a half-hour earlier would enable the meeting to cover the presentation and discussion of agenda items more effectively," PRNC first vice president Jordan DeStaebler said,
    "As of late there often has not been sufficient time to adequately cover topics of concern to the community."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New street striping, one-way streets - and maybe paid parking - ahead for the Point

   POINT RICHMOND - The City of Richmond is circulating a survey to area residents in conjunction with the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council, outlining three possible options for improving parking in the downtown Point Richmond business district.
Parking Kiosk
    All three involve making Park Place a one-way street. One would convert Washington Avenue into a one-way thoroughfare.
    Also under consideration - but not part of this survey - is a "paid parking pilot" program in which pay stations would be placed around the Point.
   "We already have pay stations and mobile payment in the parking lots located in downtown and the 12th Street garage," Denee Evans of the City of Richmond told The Point. They "have been effective in increasing short term, on-street parking occupancy during peak hours."
    Evans also said that with the two residential developments already approved (Terminal One and Shea Homes) - and a third 270-unit project in the city approval process - paid parking is likely needed to alleviate parking problems and congestion.
    Here is a link to a Google docs survey put out by the city:

Comments about the survey, the options, paid parking or any other parking issues can be emailed to:

Below are sketches of the options presented in the survey.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Temple Beth Hillel Passover Seder Tuesday

   POINT RICHMOND, Hilltop - Temple Beth Hillel has invited community members to join in a what it is calling a family-friendly congregational Seder Tuesday.
    This second-night-of Passover event starts at 6:30 p.m.
    Rabbi Dean Kertesz and Cantor Fran Burgess will be retelling the Passover story. There will also be the singing of holiday songs and sharing of a complete ritual meal. A vegan meal option is available.
    For non-members the price is $35 for adults, $20 for children ages 7-12 and $8 for children 3-6.
    Seating is limited so reservations are required by calling or 510-223-2560 or by following this link:
    Temple Beth Hillel is located at 801 Park Central in the Hilltop area of Richmond.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Point email server causing problems

POINT RICHMOND - The automated email system - which notifies people who have signed up for email alerts whenever The Point makes a new post - has been sending out old posts for several days.

We are trying to correct the problem.

The posts so far have all been about Republic Services, stories that were filed months ago.

We regret the problem and hope to have it rectified today.

In any event, always be sure to check the date of any posting, located at the top of the story.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Local connection to 'Today' show segment

   POINT RICHMOND - A NBC-TV Today show segment anchored by Maria Shriver this morning on Super-Agers (as in preventing aging, not making it happen faster) had a local tie-in to the Body Wisdom Studio on Washington Avenue in the Point business district.
    Katy Bowman, author of the newly published book, Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility, was featured in the video, explaining her ideas about ways for people to keep fit and alert, not matter what age they might be.
    Body Wisdom's proprietor, Nancy Allen Burns, is a close associate of Bowman's and teaches something called Restorative Exercise, a Bowman program.
    Burns also conducts a training program for people interested in teaching restorative exercise along with a variety of other health-related classes at the studio.
    In mid-April, Burns will offer a three-hour workshop on dynamic aging.
    For more information check the Body Wisdom website.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

'Angled' parking options for The Point outlined Wednesday at PRNC meeting

  POINT RICHMOND - Options for improving parking in the Point Richmond Business District were presented Wednesday night by two City of Richmond staff members.
    Denee Evans and Patrick Phelan outlined three specific ideas, all of which included making Park Place a one-way street - heading from West Richmond Avenue to Washington Avenue.
   The options all suggested changing the parallel parking on both sides of Park Place to having a mix of angled and parallel parking spaces.
    "We have a number of transportation demand challenges ahead," Evans said. "Parking, traffic congestion, enforcement and the impact of pending housing and commercial developments."
   The housing impacts Evans was referring to include the already approved Terminal One and Shea Homes projects and the proposed 270-unit condo & townhouses proposed by New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas to be built on Seacliff Drive.
    The first option presented would have angled parking on the east side of Park Place with parallel parking on the west. But under this option, these spots would require drivers to back into the angled parking spaces in front of the businesses.
    "It's trickier backing in. But it's easier to see bicyclists when pulling out," Phelan said.
    The second option had the angled parking on the east side also, but motorists would drive straight in.
    In the third option, the angled parking would be on the west side, with normal parallel parking on the east.
   Evans and Phelan also presented a design to improve pedestrian safety on the corner of Railroad and West Richmond Avenues by "squaring up" the intersection.
   The idea of expanding sidewalk areas in front of businesses out into the street to allow for construction of temporary "parklets" was also presented and discussed briefly.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Parking tops PRNC Wednesday agenda

   POINT RICHMOND - A discussion of parking and traffic issues in Point Richmond - with a presentation by Denee Evans of the City of Richmond Transportation-Parking Services - is expected to highlight Wednesday's meeting of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council.
    The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center and is open to the public.
    Evans made a short presentation to the PRNC in late February about possibilities for a neighborhood parking permit system to help with parking issues.
    Her report - and the question and answer period - was was cut short because of time constraints.
    Her presentation Wednesday is scheduled to begin shortly after 8 p.m.
    In addition to parking and traffic matters, the PRNC is also expected to hear a report on the Point Richmond Business Association (made by Daniel Butt), a report on the Arts of Point Richmond (presented by Altha Humphrey), a report on the Masquers Playhouse (by Kathie Kiehn) and an update on the Plunge West Collaborative Projects presented by Maryn Hurlburt.
    The PRNC will also be welcoming the owners of the newly opened Brezo at Baltic Square, Heather Mervine and Hector Hernandez.

    Here is the full agenda for Wednesday's PRNC meeting:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

'An evening of wine and words' at Kaleidoscope Coffee Tuesday, April 4

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Writers Group is hosting a literary mixer called An evening of wine and words Tuesday, April 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Kaleidoscope Coffee, 109 Park Place.
    The event is free and open to the public.
    The Writers Group - the same organization that has a display of published works in the Point
Richmond Post Office window on Washington Street - is putting on the event to create an opportunity for people to meet local authors of fiction, non-fiction, poets, playwrights and journalists all of who live in and around The Point.
    The Writers Group is part of Arts of Point Richmond.
   It's also a chance for other writers living in the area to meet members of the Point Richmond group.
    Several short presentations by Writers Group members will be part of the evening.
    Wine, beer, coffee, tea, other beverages - and food - will be on sale.
    Books published by members of the group will also be available to purchase.
   For more information about the event, please contact Michael J. Fitzgerald or Sylvia Fox at this email: Point Richmond Writers Group.

Point Richmond Post Office display

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

PBS's Elizabeth Farnsworth to speak at Kaleidoscope Coffee Friday evening

   POINT RICHMOND - Elizabeth Farnsworth, former substitute anchor for PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer will be reading from her new memoir Friday night at Kaleidoscope Coffee in Point Richmond.
    Farnsworth's new book is titled A Train Through Time: A Life, Real and Imagined.
   The event - sponsored by the CafĂ© Society - starts at 7 p.m.
   Ms. Farnsworth will be introduced by Charles Haas, author of The Enthusiast.
   In addition to her work as a broadcast anchor with PBS, Farnsworth has been a filmmaker and foreign correspondent.
   Attendance at the event is free. Beer, wine, tea and coffee - as well as food - will be available for purchase.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Temple Hillel Bagel Brunch next Sunday will feature a talk on volunteering in Israel

   RICHMOND - A bagel brunch open to the community - featuring a talk by David A. Brown - will be held next Sunday (March 26) from 10:15 a.m. until noon at the Temple Beth Hillel near Hilltop.

    In 2015 Brown fulfilled a long-held desire to contribute to the well-being of the people of Israel. He got his wish by connecting with volunteers on a "Sar-El" mission. Sar-El is a non-profit organization open to non-Israeli citizens who wish to participate in national service.

    Brown lived in Israel in barracks on Israeli Defense Force bases. He performed non-combat duties such as packing food and medical supplies, repairing machinery and helping to maintain the bases.

    His talk will center on his experiences - and the satisfaction he says that came from the work.

    A $5 donation is suggested for attendees.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Parking, building heights and rezoning top concerns about Bottoms Quarry project

   POINT RICHMOND - The vehicle traffic that would be generated by the proposed Bottoms Quarry project off Seacliff Drive dominated an hour and a half discussion Wednesday night at a special meeting of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council.
    An audience of 30 PRNC members and other concerned residents peppered representatives of New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas with questions about how much traffic would be generated and alternatives to having ingress and egress for the 270-unit project off Seacliff Drive.
    Similar concerns were raised at an earlier PRNC meeting, prompting the special session.
     New West's Terry Manley declined to speculate on exactly how many daily vehicle trips would be generated by the project, indicating that a traffic study would be part of the environmental impact report preparation and would provide that number.
Residents view project plans before the meeting
    But he said his firm multiplies the number of units times 1.75 to determine the number of vehicles at any housing project. Using that rubric, Bottoms Quarry would have about 472 vehicles at the development.
    Several residents said the traffic generated - when added to nearly 3,000 projected vehicle trips estimated per day from the yet-to-be-constructed Shea Homes project and the Terminal One project - would add greatly to the traffic woes already experienced on Canal Boulevard and downtown, particularly when trains are being shuttled.

    The impact on the already existing problems with parking in the Point Richmond business district were also raised, as were the cumulative impacts on city water supplies and sewer capacity.
    Ken Ryan of the architecture and planning company KTGY Group said his firm is still working on various scenarios for the six acres proposed for development. New West owns 18.4 acres and said Wednesday it will be keep the balance of the property as open space and has no plans for further development at the site.
Ken Ryan, architect with KTGY
    That open space is largely steep hillside, Ryan said, which is why the proposal shows the condominium complex building having a height of 68 to 70 feet.
    The steep hill ensures that no views would be blocked, provided the city approves the exception to Richmond's 35-foot height limitation.
    The entire site is currently zoned for parks and recreation.
    But New West's Manley said that his company has had conversations with East Bay Regional Parks and the City of Richmond, both of which indicated no interest in developing the project as parks.
    Manley also said city officials indicated that Richmond would look favorably on a rezoning to allow a housing project.
    "The city said 'yes' it could be changed," Manley said.
    New West also unveiled the idea of having a Bay Trail "staging area" at the corner of Canal and Seacliff, where there would be parking for vehicles and bicycles, picnic tables and restrooms.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Special PRNC meeting tonight on a proposed 270-unit housing development

   POINT RICHMOND - Traffic, density of housing and the city's height limitation are all expected to be part of tonight's Point Richmond Neighborhood Council discussions about the proposed 270-unit Bottoms Quarry project off Seacliff Drive.
     The project will be the only agenda item on the special meeting, scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center.
     The meeting is open to the public.
     The project - proposed by the New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas - is to be built on six of the 18.4 acres of land the company purchased at the end of 2016. No other development is currently planned (or has been announced) for the balance of the property.
     At an earlier PRNC meeting, New West officials said the new Richmond-to-San Francisco ferry - slated to start service in January of 2018 - was a major part of the reason they decided to propose the new project.
     At that same PRNC meeting, several residents questioned the project's density and having ingress and egress off Seacliff Drive. There were also concerns voiced about potential increases in vehicle traffic.
     If approved by the City of Richmond, whatever vehicle traffic generated will be added to an estimated 3,000 vehicles trips per day predicted from the yet-to-be constructed Shea Homes project and the Terminal One project on Ferry Point.
     New West officials promised that as part of an environmental impact report, a full traffic study would be conducted to gauge impacts of their project.
     Richmond officials said both a general plan amendment and a rezoning will be required for the project to be built.
    The land is currently zoned for parks and recreation use.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Carnival at Temple Beth Hillel Sunday

   RICHMOND - Temple Beth Hillel announced this week that it will be having a Purim Carnival this coming Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
     Temple Beth Hillel is located at 801 Park Central in the Hilltop area of Richmond.
     Activities, crafts and games for children of all ages are planned.
     There will also be plenty of food, organizers say, including the traditional hamentaschen (a three-cornered, fruit filled pastry) along with many other foods.
     As part of the event, a raffle will be held with a prize of a 7-night family vacation at a resort on the Mexican coast.
    The Purim Carnival is open to the public and admission is free.
    For more information about the carnival call 510-223-2560.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

PRNC meeting set for March 15 to discuss impacts of proposed 270-unit condo project

   POINT RICHMOND - A special Point Richmond Neighborhood Council meeting to discuss the proposed Bottoms Quarry project - a 270-unit condo/town house project on Seacliff Drive will be Weds., March 15, PRNC president David Schoenthal announced Friday.
     The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center and is open to the public. The meeting is scheduled to run from 7 to 9 p.m.
    The project was discussed Weds., Feb 22 by the PRNC, at which time members asked for full meeting to discuss the project's impacts on the community.
     The condo project has been proposed by the New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas, recent purchasers of 18.4 acres of land.
     Only six of those acres are proposed for development at this time.
     At the February PRNC meeting, developer Todd Floyd said the new Richmond-to-San Francisco ferry - slated to begin service in January of 2018 - prompted the company to purchase the land and move ahead with a development.
     In addition to the normal city processes for review - including a full environmental impact report - the project will also require that the general plan designation be changed along with a rezoning from parks and recreation use.
     At the February meeting, many resident concerns centered around traffic, particular with the proposed ingress and egress on Seacliff Drive.
     Some concern was also voiced about the cumulative effect of adding this project to two already approved developments yet to be constructed - Terminal One and the Shea Homes project.
     The combined projected increase in traffic from those two projects will be approximately 3,000 vehicle trips per day.
     A New West spokesman said that a full traffic analysis would be part of the application process for city approval.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Richmond Mayor's state of the city address

Mayor Tom Butt
(East Bay Times photo)
    RICHMOND - Richmond Mayor Tom Butt offered a critical assessment of the city's finances Tuesday night in his annual state of the city address, the East Bay Times reported today.

     Butt cited several issues including growing pension and health care costs.

     “If the city focused as much on collecting money as it does on spending money, we could increase revenues by millions each year, ” Butt is quoted as saying.

     For the full story from the Times, click here: 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pt. Richmond parking issues discussed

   POINT RICHMOND - Parking in the downtown Point Richmond business district - as well as residential neighborhoods impacted by parking issues - were the focus of a presentation made Wednesday night to the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council by city staff member, Denee Evans.
     Evans, a former code enforcement officer now working with the City of Richmond Transportation & Parking Services, outlined changes - and opportunities - for improving parking, made possible by changes in laws approved in January.
     She said that those changes will be reflected on the Richmond city website in the very near future.
     "We are about to upload a lot of information that people should find very useful," Evans said.
     The West Contra Costa County Transit Advisory Committee met today to look at various transportation issues related to population growth and impacts on traffic and area residents.
     As an example of population and traffic growth,  Evans referenced an PRNC earlier presentation made by New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas. The company just unveiled a proposed Point Richmond development - a 270-unit housing project on six acres with access on Seacliff Drive.
     The daily vehicle trips generated by that development - if approved - would be added to the vehicle traffic expected from the approximately 330 units of the approved Terminal One project and the 60 units from an approved (and under construction) shoreline condo project by Shea Homes.
     All three would utilize Seacliff Drive, Brickyard Way and Dornan Drive.
     The New West developers promised the PRNC that a full traffic study to see what the impacts of the project could be will be part of their planning studies and/or the environmental impact review.
     A story and illustrations about the Las Vegas-based firm's project can be found here: Bottoms Quarry.
     Evans also outlined a new neighborhood parking permit program that can be initiated by the city council, transit staff or residents who believe they is a parking problem in a particular neighborhood or street. This program could include finding ways to improve parking in the Point Richmond business district.
     Details about how that program could work in the business district and/or neighborhoods are going to be reflected in the new website information, she said.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

PRNC calls for special meeting to discuss the proposed Bottoms Quarry project

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council Wednesday night voted to hold a special meeting specifically to discuss the proposed Bottoms Quarry project, a 270-unit development on six acres off Seacliff Drive.
     The vote for a special meeting came after a presentation by representatives of the developer, New West Development Corporation of Las Vegas which owns 18.4 acres of property.
     The new Richmond to San Francisco ferry "changed the dynamic" in favor of developing housing on the site, Todd Floyd, one of the developers told the PRNC.
     That new ferry service is slated to begin in early 2018.
   Numerous residents voiced concerns about increased traffic on Seacliff from the development.
    The entrance and exit to the project would be onto the increasingly busy roadway.
Proposed Bottoms Quarry project
    "This presents a big problem for the community," resident Jeff Vines said.
     The developers promised that a study of traffic impacts would be part of the planning process.
     One structure is planned to be five stories tall with interior courtyard parking on each level. Because the entire project backs up to a tall hillside, no views would be blocked, Floyd said.
     Housing unit prices are expected to range from the mid-$400,000s to mid $600,000s.

    Floyd and fellow New West representative Terry Manley stressed that the project is still in the preliminary design stage, will require a full environmental impact report and approval by various City of Richmond officials including the city planning commission and the city council.
     It will also need a general plan amendment and a rezoning, according to the Richmond Planning Department.
     The property is currently zoned for parks and recreation use.
     The PRNC's special meeting to discuss the project has not been scheduled.

Story by Michael J. Fitzgerald

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Land use, parking on tonight for PRNC

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council tonight will consider a proposed housing development and a plan for parking in the Point.
     The PRNC meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Center on Washington Street adjacent to the public library.
     The Bottoms Quarry Development, proposed for construction off Seacliff Drive, will be considered after an 8 p.m. presentation about the Plunge West Collaborative Projects.
     Here is a link to the development company website with details about the Bottoms Quarry proposal: BOTTOMS QUARRY
     At about 8:30 p.m., the PRNC will hear a presentation about a proposed neighborhood parking permit program.
     The presentation will be given by Denee Evans from the City of Richmond.

The two images below are from the Bottoms Quarry Development website

Sunday, February 19, 2017

PRNC to consider land use and parking

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council will take up several land use issues Wednesday night - and a parking permit program - when the council meets, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
      First will be The Plunge West Collaborative Project, presented by Maryn Hurlbut and Andrew Butt. The Plunge West project was discussed at the last PRNC meeting. Here is a link to the PDF presented at the January PRNC meeting: PLUNGE.
Artist's concept - Quarry Development
     The second land use item will be a report/presentation on the proposed housing project for the Bottoms Quarry Development proposed by New West Communities.
     A link to the company's website with details about what it seeks to do can be found by clicking the following link: Bottoms Quarry project.
     The third land use item the PRNC will consider is a home renovation at 719 Golden Gate.
     Other items on the PRNC agenda include:
     RICHMOND PROMISE - Executive director Jessie Stewart is scheduled for a 15-minute agenda item, beginning at 8:09 p.m.
     The East Bay Times published a feature story about Richmond Promise in its Friday edition that can be read here: Richmond Promise.
     PARKING - Denee Evans of the City of Richmond Transportation and Parking Services will be outlining a Point Richmond Neighborhood Parking Permit program.
Evans is scheduled to begin that presentation at 8:29 p.m.

Bottoms Quarry Development
Bottoms Quarry Development - closer view

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

County superior court judge rejects attempt to halt new Richmond rent control law

    RICHMOND - Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Judith Craddick Wednesday upheld Richmond's rent control law, approved by voters in November, the East Bay Times reports.

    The law, approved by 65 percent of voters in the general election, rolls back rents to where they were July 21, 2015.

   The request to strike down the law came from the California Apartment Association, an industry lobbying group. It had gone to court to get an injunction to halt implementation of the law.

   The association is also trying to block rent control in Alameda, San Jose, San Mateo and Santa Rosa.

   For the full East Bay Times story, click this link: RENT CONTROL UPHELD

Solar farm opens off Richmond Parkway

   RICHMOND - A new two-megawatt solar farm off Richmond Parkway was unveiled Tuesday by Marin Clean Energy, the East Bay Times reported.
     The power generated is enough for 600 homes per year.
     MCE partners with local entrepreneurs who use their properties to generate solar energy, selling it back to MCE.
     The land owners also quality for federal tax incentives.
     "There is an unprecedented opportunity to provide power generation right in the places were people use it and employ people who live there," Richmond Mayor Tom Butt says in the Times.

Here is the link to the full story in the East Bay Times: New Solar Farm

East Bay Times photo

Friday, February 10, 2017

County finds new code violations at Richmond vehicle wrecking yard

   RICHMOND - The vehicle wrecking yard that was the site of a big early morning fire Dec. 16 has more hazardous waste violations than previously thought.
    Contra Costa County officials announced Friday that Deal Auto Wrecking yard on West Gertrude Avenue has 30 days to clear up the problems, the East Bay Times reported Friday night.
    In the December fire as many as 200 vehicles burned putting up a huge plume of toxic black smoke.
    The fire prompted officials to order a 'shelter in place' for people living near the yard.
   To read the full story in the Times, follow this link: More violations at wrecking yard.