Wednesday, December 18, 2019

PRNC voices concerns about pollution at proposed Terminal One development

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council this week voiced serious concerns about pollution - and likely "inadequate" remediation efforts - at the proposed Terminal One residential project adjacent to Miller-Knox Regional Park and the Richmond Yacht Club.
     In a letter to the Richmond City Council, PRNC President Peter Thelin outlined a series of PRNC member concerns prompted by a presentation earlier in the month by Brian Lewis of the Brickyard Cove Alliance for Responsible Development (BCARD).
Aerial view of Terminal One location
     "We are concerned about potential discharges to the Bay and adjacent property; about protecting eel grass used by herring to spawn; and most particularly, about the safety to residents and public using this land in the future," Thelin wrote on behalf of the entire PRNC.
     "We have only one remaining chance to clean up this property correctly," he noted.
Thelin's letter came in the wake of a vote by the PRNC Dec. 3 to support the technical recommendations of the consultants to BCARD who have been studying the polluted site.
     Many of the recommendations, comments and findings of those consultants were outlined by Lewis at the meeting including concerns that Trichloroethylene (TCE) will remain at the site.
     "These findings strongly indicated the Remedial Design is inadequate to protect the Bay or adjacent RYC property," Thelin's letter to the council states.
     The Terminal One site is proposed by the Laconia Corporation of Walnut Creek to construct a 316-unit residential development on the former industrial site. It would include a combination of buildings including multi-story condominiums and single family bayside homes.
     A public waterfront park is also part of the project, though current plans show no public parking along the shoreline.
     The City of Richmond is also weighing whether to dip into city funds to help with increased costs of the Terminal One project.
     The funds would be used to help cover developer costs for handling seismic hazards, improvements to the Ferry Point Lift Station and development of the promised park.
     Last summer the proposed allocation of city funds included:

by Michael J. Fitzgerald, The Point

Friday, December 6, 2019

Update on Terminal One project prompts letter from PRNC to Richmond City Council

   POINT RICHMOND - A presentation Wednesday night about the proposed environmental cleanup of the 13-acre Terminal One site on Brickyard Cove Road has prompted the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council to send a letter to the Richmond City Council detailing a variety of concerns.
     The Terminal One site is proposed for a 316-unit residential development by the Laconia Corporation of Walnut Creek. If approved, the development on a former industrial site would be a combination of buildings including multi-story condominiums and single family bayside homes.
     The presentation about the environmental hazards at the site and cleanup was made by Brian Lewis, a member of the Brickyard Cove Alliance for Responsible Development.
     "We have three major areas of concern," Lewis told the PRNC. "Ground water, soil and discharges to the bay."
Proposed development site, adjacent to the Richmond Yacht Club
     BCARD was formed to act as an environmental watchdog as area residents voiced repeated concerns in recent years about whether the toxic wastes at the site could be cleaned up adequately to allow for people to live there.
     "We felt the city was not listening to us," Lewis said.
     In his overview, Lewis walked PRNC members through some of the planned remediation proposals and cautioned that there needs to be effective monitoring of water quality if the project is built.
     "We as a community want to make sure it's cleaned up properly," he said.
     And because many of the known toxins - including Trichloroethylene (TCE) - will remain at the site, "it needs to be monitored indefinitely," he added.
     The letter from the PRNC is expected to be drafted next week so it can be included in the city council packet of information for the January 21 council meeting. Letters need to be received no later than January 15 to get to the council before the meeting.
     In addition to echoing concerns about environmental issues, the PRNC's letter is expected to ask questions about the appropriateness of a proposal to use nearly $3 million of city monies from other funds - like those designated for parks and sewer - to subsidize the Terminal One development.
     That fund-shift proposal has been under consideration since earlier this year. For details about that proposal, see "City delays consideration of funding" published by The Point July 1.
     For more background about the Terminal One site and a proposed cleanup plan, see Public Hearing from September 2018, also published by The Point.
     - Story by Michael J. Fitzgerald, The Point

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Plan to run BNSF trains in Miller-Knox Park derailed by Superior Court ruling

   POINT RICHMOND - A controversial plan to run Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains on formerly abandoned tracks along the shoreline in Miller-Knox Regional Park has been derailed by a court ruling, the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council was told Wednesday night.
BNSF's abandoned tracks along the Miller-Knox shoreline
     "We beat the railroad," Point resident Eric Zell said in a brief presentation to about 30 PRNC members and the public. (In late February, the PRNC voted to oppose BNSF's plans.)
     Zell has been working with the East Bay Regional Park District to fight BNSF's plans since earlier this year.
     According to Zell, the judge in the case ruled that the railroad has no rights to reactivate the tracks. And the terms of a previously signed agreement between the Texas-based railroad and EBRPD precludes the company from claiming that federal law would allow them to do so.
     Zell said the judge hasn't signed his ruling, pending a request from BNSF to now settle with the district over the issue. The settlement, he said, might be to avoid setting some legal precedent about federal vs. state law.
     Regardless, the park district might be in a position to get the railroad to agree to do some improvements along the abandoned rails as part of a settlement.
     Zell also announced that Dec. 14 from noon to 3 p.m. - rain or shine - the district is hosting an open-to-the-public celebration at the park to thank the public for its help in fighting BNSF's plan.
     The party is being called "A Celebration of Public Advocacy Protecting the Richmond Shoreline at Miller-Knox Regional Park."
     The celebration will also honor retiring EBRPD Director Whitney Dotson who represents the area.
     For more information about the celebration, email Monique Salas or call her at 510-544-2008.

BNSF trains will still use tracks part way into the park

Monday, December 2, 2019

Reports on trains in Miller-Knox, Terminal One project on PRNC agenda Wednesday

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council will hear reports on BNSF railroad's plans to run trains along the shoreline of Miller-Knox Regional Park and an update on the Dornan Drive-Brickyard Cover Road Terminal One housing project Wednesday.
     The PRNC meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center in Point Richmond and is open to the public.
     The BNSF train update will be provided by Eric Zell and is set to begin at about 7:50 p.m.
     The PRNC's last update on the ongoing trains-in-the-park situation was in July.
     The update on Terminal One will be from Brian Lewis and Jeff Vines of the Brickyard Cove Alliance for Responsible Development (BCARD).  The presentation by the BCARD members should begin about 8:15 p.m.
     The BCARD presentation will likely include comments about the proposed lack of public parking alone the shoreline of the development, information on ongoing attempts to clean up the toxic areas of the site and City of Richmond plans to help fund certain portions of the project.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Local authors to speak at Temple Beth Hillel

   HILLTOP - Local authors Robert Schoen and Catherine deCuir will be discussing their new novel, The Rabbi Finds Her Way, Sunday, Nov. 17 beginning at 2 p.m.
     The novel features a female rabbi/cantor as she moves through the scenes, activities and politics of a modern-day synagogue.
     It is the first in a planned series of novels by the pair.
     For more information, see the flier below.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Richmond weekend ferry service pondered

   RICHMOND - Weekend ferry service between Richmond and San Francisco - suspended last weekend - is being studied by the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) for possible resumption.
     If the popular service is resumed, it will likely not be until next spring or summer.
First day of Richmond to SF ferry service in August
(Photo by Richmond Standard)
     WETA spokesman Thomas Hall said the agency will be considering resumption in the next few months. "We will be considering ridership, expenses and fund availability holistically," Hall said.
     During the three-month pilot trial period for the Richmond-to-SF ferry there was an average of 1,100 boardings per weekend, with a high of 1,800 during Fleet Week.
     Regular weekday commuter ferry service will continue, he said.
     To comment on the Richmond-to-San Francisco ferry service, WETA can be contacted by phone at 707-643-3779 or toll free at 877-643-3779.
     WETA can also be contacted via email at WETA.

Monday, November 4, 2019

New Richmond-to-SF ferry schedule starts, no more weekend ferry service for winter

   RICHMOND - The weekend ferry service from Richmond to San Francisco that began August 3 ended this past weekend.
     The announcement from the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) says that the popular Saturday and Sunday service trial service is over, but makes no mention when - or if - WETA will reinstate the weekend ferries from Richmond Ferry Terminal to the San Francisco Ferry Terminal.
     The ferries back and forth to SF during the final weekend were well attended with passengers.
     Regular weekday commuter ferry service will continue WETA says.
     For updates about changes to the weekday schedule, check out the WETA website here.
     To comment on the suspension of the Richmond-to-San Francisco ferry service, WETA can be contacted by phone at 707-643-3779 or toll free at 877-643-3779.
     WETA can also be contacted via email here: WETA.

View from the Richmond-to SF ferry Saturday, November 2

Friday, October 25, 2019

PRNC to discuss ER shortage in Richmond

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council will hear a report about the shortage of emergency room services in the community when it meets Wednesday, Oct. 30.
     The meeting will be held in the Point Richmond Community Center on Washington Ave., begins at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public.
     The discussion/presentation about the need for emergency room services will begin at about 7:55 p.m.
     The PRNC's consideration of the topic is a prelude to a community-wide public meeting set for Saturday, Nov. 9 beginning at 11 a.m. at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond. (See the notice below for details.)
     The PRNC will also hear a report about the upcoming 2020 Census and discuss the need for a volunteer secretary for the organization to take over duties in January.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Temple Beth Hillel invites community to observe High Holy Days celebrations

   HILLTOP, Richmond - Temple Beth Hillel has extended an invitation to the community to observe High Holy Days with the congregation.
      Services will be led by Rabbi Dean Kertesz and the temple's new cantor Shayndel Adler.
      Evening services begin Sunday at 7:30 p.m. through Monday, Sept. 30 with a morning service beginning at 10 a.m.
    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement services open at 7 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 8 and end at 7 p.m. Weds. Oct. 9. Morning services will be held on Oct. 9 at 10 a.m.
     For full details, see the notice below:

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Citizens' group opposes Richmond City Council funding for Terminal One

   A citizens' group has asked the Richmond City Council to vote "no" tonight on a resolution giving additional funds for the development of the Terminal One project.
     The city council meeting dealing with giving additional funds for Terminal One begins at 6:30 p.m. in the city council chambers at 440 Civic Center Plaza.
     The meeting is open to the public.
     The item on the agenda is H-1 and reads:

H-1. ADOPT a resolution approving the Successor Agency to the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency's amendment to the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule to address increased costs for remediation and demolition work at 1500 Dornan Drive - Successor Agency to the Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency
 (Lina Velasco 620-6706).

     A letter from the Brickyard Cove Alliance for Responsible Development (BCARD) says giving monies to developer Laconia as described in the resolution is not a correct use of the funds.

"Laconia wants to use the remediation funds to help tear down the building and to abate the asbestos in the building. However, these remediation funds were intended to be used by the City to Clean up the groundwater and soil contamination caused by the tenants of the property. Actual removal of the building is the responsibility of the developer and why the property was discounted," the letter states.

   The letter also points out that most of the $8 million received by the city to clean up the chemical pollution and toxic wastes on the former industrial site has been spent.

"This is a bait and switch tactic being used by the developer. We ask the City Council to vote No on this resolution and future attempts by the developer to shift the cost to the City or use additional park or sewer funds for improvements the developer committed to pay."

     The future shifting of costs referred to by BCARD was a proposal earlier this summer for the city to use public monies from several city sources - including funds collected from other developers - to help with increased developer costs at Terminal One - now being referred to as the Latitude Project at Terminal One.

   That proposal - expected to be taken up in the future - includes:

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

PRNC to hear report Wednesday on City of Richmond's Community Warning System

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council will hear a report Wednesday night on the City of Richmond's Community Warning System and Local Notifications from Genevieve Pastor-Cohen, emergency services manager for the City of Richmond.
     The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Point Richmond Community Center on Washington Avenue and is open to the public.
     Pastor-Cohen's report will begin at about 7:55 p.m. and is expected to take about 40 minutes, including questions from the audience.
     The PRNC will also be taking up a series community announcements and reports.
     The full agenda is below:

Saturday, July 27, 2019

PRNC to hear report Wednesday about BNSF plans for trains in Miller Knox park

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council will hear an update and report about Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's plans to reactivate and use railroad tracks in Miller Knox Park.
     The report will be made by Carol Johnson of the East Bay Regional Park District. The district filed a lawsuit in October of 2017 to resolve the issue.
     Earlier this year, EBRPD offered this statement to clarify the situation:
     “The property containing the remnant rail road tracks was purchased from Burlington Northern Santa Fe in 1991," EBRPD officials wrote. 
     "As part of the purchases, Burlington Northern Santa Fe was granted an easement back for the limited purpose of continuing to serve two adjacent industrial properties, the Bray Oil property and the Terminal One (formerly Petromark) property, only for so long as those industrial sites remained in operation. The Bray Oil property was purchased by the Park District in 1999 and designated open space. The Terminal One property stopped all industrial activity in the 1990s and is now owned by the City of Richmond and is designated for residential uses.”
     The PRNC meeting begins at 7:15 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center. Johnson's reported is slated to begin at about 7:20 p.m.
     The PRNC meeting is starting 15 minutes earlier than normal to accommodate an unusually long agenda.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

'Wig-Wag' festival in The Point Sunday

   POINT RICHMOND - The just-completed restoration project of the historic railroad crossing "wig wag" signals in The Point will be celebrated Sunday.
     The public celebration is to commemorate the reactivation of the signals after 18 years of being dormant.
     According to festival organizers, Point Richmond is the only place in the nation where the wig wags are allowed to remain in place.
     The festival will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Mechanics Bank. It will include a dedication ceremony and a ceremonial reactivation of the wig wags.
     There will be entertainment, including singing and performances of the Wig Wag Rag (1911) and the Richmond Rag (1908).
     In addition, the work of local, national and international artists will be exhibited depicting railroads crossings. Local artists include Elizabeth Tarr, Jim DeWitt and Linda Lee.
     Thematic posters by Tarr will be available for purchase.

Monday, July 1, 2019

City delays consideration of funding proposal for Terminal One until Sept.

 EDITOR'S NOTE and Update to story below:
    Richmond city officials Monday said the proposals described below will not be considered Tuesday, July 2 - or July 16 - after all. 
    Instead - at the request of the developer - the issues raised in the story are now expected to be taken up in September.
    This story will be updated with links to city documents later this week.

RICHMOND - The Richmond City Council was set to consider a proposal this week to use funds from several city sources - including funds collected from other developers - to help with increased costs at the Terminal One residential project.
     But city officials said the discussion and decision has been delayed and will likely take place in September.
     The council had received a written request to delay a vote on the proposal. And several Point residents were expected to ask the council at the meeting to delay also, citing a short notice of the item being considered.
     The city-collected funds are proposed by the city to help the developer cover increased costs to handle seismic hazards, development of the promised waterfront park and improvements to the Ferry Point Lift Station.
     The details of the fund allocations being considered include:
The Terminal One project site is on the left

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Filming in Point Richmond Monday and Tuesday - here are maps of the impacts

   POINT RICHMOND - Two different companies will be filming in The Point Monday and Tuesday impacting traffic and parking.
     An earlier story about the filming was published Thursday. "PRNC votes to support filming"
     Today the Richmond Police Department released the statement below as well as diagrams of when streets will be closed off and how parking will be affected.
     The RPD says that all businesses will remain open. But Tuesday Kaleidoscope Coffee will be closed because the film crew will be using the facility to film. It will reopen Wednesday.

From the Richmond PD:
"Monday, April 29: Honda USA has hired a production company to film a commercial in Pt. Richmond. The production crew will be in the downtown area from 7 AM - 7 PM. The streets will remain open with intermittent closure for filming. All businesses will remain open, but parking will be impacted. Please refer to the attached map titled “Honda Downtown Pt Richmond...” regarding limited parking and time frames. There will be three RPD officers onsite to assist with traffic and parking.
Tuesday, April 30: Skycar Creative Inc. has been hired to produce a company video by a private firm. They will also be filming in the downtown Pt. Richmond area on April 30. The production crew will be onsite from 8 AM - 6 PM. All streets will remain open with intermittent closure for short periods of time when they film. All businesses will remain open, but parking will be impacted. Please refer to the attached map regarding parking time frames. There will be four RPD officers onsite to assist with traffic flow and parking concerns. Both production companies have been working with the Pt. Richmond Business Association and the Pt. Richmond Neighborhood Council to help minimize the inconvenience placed on stakeholders and local residents. Thank you for your patience and understanding."

Tuesday April 30 2019

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

PRNC votes to support Monday & Tuesday filming in The Point business district

     POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council gave a nod of approval Wednesday night to two film projects planned for Monday and Tuesday that will impact traffic flow in the business district.
     Both contributed $1,000 to the PRNC for cleanup and restoration work in The Point, including spiffing up the statue near the Community Center. The donations were in addition to fees paid to the City of Richmond to obtain city filming permits.
     The project with the likely much-lighter traffic impact is being done by Skycar Creative, a Point Richmond Company.
     Jane Selle Morgan of Skycar told the PRNC that her company was filming a software commercial Tuesday. When completed the film would be seen on the web only.
     "We are not going to shut down traffic completely, just very intermittently off Park Place," Morgan said. "And a little bit on Washington."
     A bigger community impact will be that Skycar will be filming in Kaleidoscope Coffee all day, necessitating closing the popular coffee shop to the public.
     But Kaleidoscope owner Cassie Cushing said Wednesday night that as a show of gratitude to the community and Kaleidoscope's many loyal customers her coffee shop will be offering a 30 percent discount when it reopens Wednesday May 1, the day after the filming.
     The Honda automotive commercial filming Monday will cause traffic interruptions and parking restrictions from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The commercial is being shot to be shown in Northern California only.
     A description of the Honda shooting schedule is below. A detailed diagram - indicative of when and where shooting and parking restrictions will be happening - was handed out to the public by the PRNC at the meeting but is not available for publication here.
     Richmond Police are expected to be on scene for both film projects.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Traffic and parking likely impacted by filming in The Point Monday & Tuesday

   POINT RICHMOND - The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council will hear reports - and likely discuss - two upcoming film shoots in The Point.
     The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Point Richmond Community Center and is open to the public. The full agenda is printed below.
     The film discussions are listed on the agenda to begin at about 7:45 p.m.
     The first filming is Monday, April 29 - a commercial shoot between 7 a.m. at 8 p.m. for Honda.
     The morning filming will be around the business triangle. A descriptive flyer about exactly where the shooting will be going on and other details about parking is below.
     The second filming is Tuesday, April 30 by Medallia Commercial. The agenda lists Andrea Bloom of Skycar Creative as the contact person. Further details about how much that filming might impact The Point are expected to be discussed at the meeting.
     Parking and traffic flow are expected to be impacted by the Monday event with "no parking" signs posted close to the filming. Richmond Police will be on scene to assist, according to Felix Gehm of Waypoint Films, location manager for the filming.
     "All streets will remain open to the public but we will be temporary stopping traffic during our driving scenes," he said.
     Pedestrian traffic on sidewalks is not expected to be impacted, he said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The PRNC agenda below erroneously lists the Medallia Commercial filming as occurring on Sunday, April 28.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Pacific Boat Show all weekend in Richmond

   RICHMOND - The Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show continues today and Sunday at the Craneway Pavilion (1440 Harbour Way South) and Marina Bay Yacht Harbor (1340 Marina Way South).
     The show celebrates sailing, boating and all types of marine sporting lifestyle.
     In the Craneway, vendors ranging from diesel engines to autopilots to clothing to publications to solar panels have items on display and for sale.
     Seminars on all manner of concern to boaters - and those wishing to become boaters - run each day.
     At nearby Marina Bay Yacht Harbor, new power and sailboats are on display also.
     "We are thrilled to have so many exhibitors, new boats, products and interactive events to involve the community this year," Katie Kelly, Sail America's Association Manager said.
     "Attendees will find the latest boat communications technology, boats, and solar panels."
     In addition, there are a number of younger participants and activities this year including special events put on by Groundwork Richmond's environmentalists and the West Contra County Sea Scouts. Groundwork Richmond will be teaching kayaking. The West Contra County Sea Scouts will be instructing in rope knotting.
     Today free standup-paddle board lessons are being offered by 510 Waterline until 1 p.m.
     Also today, at 6 p.m. Cruising Outpost will hold a party and raffle to raise funds for Call of the Sea, an organization that works with the Educational Tall Ships Foundation Project in Sausalito.
     For more information about the boat show scheduling and tickets, follow this link: Pacific Sail & Power.

Monday, April 1, 2019

BNSF railroad tracks along shore in Miller-Knox Park sporting orange paint markings

   POINT RICHMOND - A Point Richmond resident this morning reported on Nextdoor that it appeared the abandoned Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad tracks in Miller-Knox Park were being surveyed.
     "I can see tracks being inspected," she said. "Looks like surveyors and railroad officials."
     By noon, any inspection activity was apparently over. There were no surveyors or other BNSF staff on site.
     The tracks show clear orange paint markings beginning 100 yards north of the southern end of the lagoon. The marks are on the tracks going north towards the tunnel.
     BNSF officials have been contacted for comment.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

PRNC to hear reports on BNSF diesels-in-Miller Knox and officer elections Weds.

POINT RICHMOND - A report about last Tuesday's East Bay Regional Park District meeting on Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad's plans to expand use of diesel engines and trains in Miller Knox Park will be part of Wednesday's regular meeting of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council.
     The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Point Richmond Community Center and is open to the public.
     The report on the EBRPD meeting will be given by the PRNC's Buzz Baylis who attended the meeting and was one of about dozen people who offered testimony opposing diesels in the park.
     Baylis is scheduled to give his report at about 8:50.
     The PRNC will also be discussing election of officers, a report from the Richmond Police Dept. and the newly opened Point Richmond Social Club.

Interior of the newly opened Point Richmond Social Club on S. Garrard

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Meeting next Thursday to discuss potential Interstate 80 traffic corridor improvements

   PINOLE - A town hall meeting to discuss opportunities to improve traffic along the Interstate 80 corridor will be held Thursday, March 28.
Assemblywoman Wicks
     The open-to-the-public meeting will include a panel discussion featuring  newly elected State Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, BART Director (District 7) Lateefah Simon, WestCAT Board Chair Chris Kelly, Pinole Councilman Roy Swearingen and WCCTAC Executive Director John Nemeth.
     The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Pinole Council Chambers, 2131 Pear Street, Pinole.
     In addition to the panel discussion, the representatives of the various agencies will be available to answer questions about local and regional transportation issues.
     For questions about the meeting, contact Uche Uwahemu in Assemblywoman Wick's office by telephone at 510-286-1400 or via email at:
     The event will be televised locally, Uwahemu said.