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.