The Eye of The Storm?

blogimage.jpgDespite a looming deficit, the Richmond City Council held an orderly meeting on Tuesday night mainly involving a discussion of rejuvenation plans for the South Shoreline. The Council remained largely courteous to each other for the majority of the meeting and managed to end the meeting early for the first time in several weeks. 

For the main item on the agenda, the Council reviewed a presentation outlining developments to the South Shoreline. UC Berkeley looks to foster a plan that is estimated to create an additional 10,000 jobs in the coming years.  The project to develop the South Shoreline includes over five million square feet of Research and Development space for the University and both retail and residential development. Richard Mitchell, UC Berkeley’s Richmond Partner, praised the coming Richmond Bay Campus project and commended UC Berkeley for the revitalization plan.

Although the plan has enjoyed popularity with the Council and public, presenters mentioned possible points of future contention. The South Shoreline development area is dependent upon zoning. Developers argue they need to make the space attractive to many vendors as well as various types of residents including those associated with the UC Berkeley facilities.  Zoning has the potential to become a major issue. Several public speakers vowed they would oppose the project if they did not receive requested zoning allowances for their businesses foreboding possible difficulties ahead. Developer Stefan Pelligrini warned he is not sure when they will be able to move forward with implementing portions of the project in light of the city of Richmond’s current financial state.

While the Council was able to conduct an orderly meeting last night, regular council meeting attendees expressed concern, wondering whether the meeting is the start of a positive trend or merely a brief respite before civility once again disappears from council meetings. 

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