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